Farewell Signalfire

youngstalinbookWhile the loss of Signalfire as a resource is not something we celebrate, we must also understand that as a project it is easily replaceable. We must also state that our domestic Maoist movement is not weakened by ideological deserters, who in essence are just opportunists who have finally stopped calling themselves Maoists. Things develop through rupture—one divides into two—this is a truth confirmed in daily struggle. The editor of Signalfire has provided us with a concise confession of such ideological degeneration that we feel it merits a public response. Over time we have found Signalfire to be a really useful resource for spreading news of revolutionary struggles to people in other places—this has been helpful and reflected good internationalist values. The editor’s confession is nothing but an attack on Maoism and a refusal to continue in its internationalist tradition.

The editor chose an interesting image to accompany their confessional and revisionist propaganda, a painting titled The Black Circleby artist Kazimir Malevich painted in 1915. This seems innocent enough on the surface, but the painting perfectly represents the article in question. Malevich believed his paintings to reflect traditional Russian piety, he further stated that it represented a “desperate struggle to free art from the ballast of the objective world.” This article, a delusional work of fiction, is most certainly free from the ballast of the objective world. A taste for bourgeois modern art that appears divorced from the class struggle is no crime in and of itself, but when the art is used in communistpropaganda we must examine it deeper. All art represents a class and a set of class interests, and this art as well as the article both sought to accomplish the same goal of obscuring the class struggle. It is no wonder the author chose this artist who was allegedly persecuted by Stalinfor a piece that doubles the attack on Maoism with a side of condemnation for comrade Stalin. But enough with art, let’s discuss the other fabrications.

The first is the obfuscation around the nature of the project itself. While the author insists that .. 

This website has always been the personal project of a single individual in the United States since it began its current incarnation five years ago.” 

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Screenshot taken from Signalfire May 2016

.. We know that at one point it was presented as a media project of the Maoist Communist Group, meaning any personal involvement was subordinate to a collective overall. The project is now out of their hands, so it follows that the editor’s issue is not so much that they don’t wish to devote their time and effort to maintaining the project, but moreso sees it as a project not worth undertaking. Or more accurately, that the editor is now actively opposed to the projects formerly professed aim, without any critical analysis of their own involvement over the past five years. They have quite simply washed their hands of it and moved on. Otherwise this could have easily been turned over to a different collective that could carry the responsibility of managing it.

The editor then goes on to issue wild allegations that at no point does he attempt to substantiate:

I no longer consider the so called ‘International Communist Movement’ with its proliferation of cultish microsects and blind worship of failed past movements to be worth promoting.”

The departure point of this accusation rests on not applying dialectical materialism to the movement and growth of communism, almost parodying the end of historynarrative. Any setbacks or failures cannot simply be pointed to as self-evident justifications of defeatism. They must analyzed in order to extract the lessons for a future success. This is the real essence of continuity and rupture, the essence of Maoism itself. While expressing a moderate level of sympathy with the armed struggle in India, the author finds it fitting to throw those comrades under the bus out of some vague grievance with the International Communist Movement (ICM) as a whole.

This error in thinking is crystallized in the statements of the Virginia branch of the Maoist Communist Group (which later liquidated into the Richmond Struggle Committee Initiative [RSCI]), where they extensively quote from the ultra-left Italian adventurists Brigate Rossi, including their total social warnonsense. This has been detailed in a statement issued by their former comrades in Boston. In both instances the author as well as RSCI are negating the ideological and political role of the party as the leading force and have slipped into what we can only call a militarist fetish. On the whole Signalfire has over time degenerated into only covering articles detailing military operations and through this total subjectivist viewpoint it has sunk totally into demoralization and defeatism.

The military aspect is important but it is only one aspect of a revolution. The article drifts further into the foul and desperate realm of ultra-leftism by its claim that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, an ideology which guides the most advanced sections of the worlds proletariat in the highest expressions of class struggle, is nothing but theological idealism.This anti-people arrogance is in essence an assertion that the communist parties who fight for communism and have lost many martyrs in that fight are nothing but misled, tricked, or simply fools. This same dictum can be found in countless bourgeois orientalist articles that compare the Asian masses to a hive mind. We suppose they just lack the overfed intellect of the former Signalfire editor. This editor even claims that

If considered realistically the Cultural Revolution is a defining event of 20th century politics which marks the implosion of both state socialism as a mode of capital accumulation and the Leninist party as a political structure in correspondence with this.

This display of gross individual intellectualism is claiming here to have developed a new synthesis based solely on his misinterpretation of the conclusion of the GPCR! And this would not be complete without regurgitating the tales of a Stalinist continuation” that were put forth in the sham of a document Bloom and Contendby Chino, who was himself guilty of regurgitating old Trotskyite polemics against Mao Zedong Thought. The former editor has here managed not only to throw out the baby with the bath water but has given up on bathing altogether, so to speak.

As if that were not enough, he writes,

Regardless of such differences the importance of defending comrades who are sacrificing their lives to defend popular survival rights against genocidal counter-insurgency policies is clear.

We agree to the importance of defending these comrades and are at a loss at how the closing of the website combined with an anti-Maoist smear piece in any way is defending our comrades in India. We assume that the author does not fancy his efforts so much that he thinks he is capable of physically defending the comrades in question, so that leaves only ideologically defending them, which is the opposite of what he is doing here. This is classic opportunism and it rings out loud and clear. The author even boldly states the irrelevancy of the ICM to class struggle in the countries in which it exists. This reflects one of the worst understandings you could hope to find held by a so-called communist. The communist movement in these places and elsewhere is not irrelevant; the communist organizations are the organizations of the proletariat without which revolution is impossible, and his distortion and negation of this fact only means that for all his bluster he cannot see a thing in motion. Rather he views matter in stasis, which is anything but a Marxist, proletarian worldview. This is a foul standard among the ranks of revisionists of all stripes and is in the backpack of every traitor, deserter, and bitter ex-comrade. While the author might have some marginal sympathy left for the CPI (Maoist), he exposes his fair-weather support in the fact that this marginal sympathy is—at best—only based on what the Maoists in India oppose. He is clearly not a supporter of what they are for: the continuation of protracted people’s war, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the continuation of revolution through socialism to communism.

While accusing the Maoist movement the world over of metaphysics, this charlatan and swindler is the true practitioner of metaphysics with his casual calls for post-socialism.The real metaphysics is subordination to the dogmatism of movements that denies the need for the vanguard party. This movementist dogma is a perpetual dead end and has not produced even small victories. This clinging to movements is exactly what has dominated the imperialist centers in a world post-socialism. We will not champion a return to such trash thinking and are sincerely glad that this fake communist no longer parades as a Maoist.Good riddance!

The author then gives us a little bit more to work with:

simply the necessity of systematic and rigorous theoretical work beginning from the basic materialist premises and united with modest and serious intervention in social reality.

These modest but serious interventions would no doubt be carried out by RSCI, a non-tendency mass organization in one locality. The problems with this irrational thinking are too numerous to list, but include chiefly a reversion to empiricism, movementism, and left-refoundationism. The RSCI has also negated the leading role of the vanguard party or pre-party organization after their split with the Maoist Communist Group. It appears to be their position that there was no area where they were wrong and that in fact it is building the party itself that is wrong, and they thus reduce themselves to a politically neutralized activist club. You can attend other people’s demonstrations and even organize your own every day of the week and still end up begging for crumbs and being crushed to death by capitalism. Unless you give any of this meaning by building a party that can take power, you are doing nothing of value for the communist cause. Party-building is still the principal task of all revolutionary communists within the USA.

The author, former editor, and charlatan traitor states,

Western Maoism on the other hand is simply irrelevant and the sooner people realize this, the sooner we can begin developing a communist politics which relates to 21st century reality.

Here he tries to imply that there are two distinct Maoisms: one of the East and one of the West. After already saying the ICM was irrelevant in general, this maneuver is an attempt at denying that MLM was ever universal. Puzzling, since if he were ever a Maoist he would have understood that the universality of Maoism as the third and highest stage of Marxism is kind of the crux of our whole ideology. But of course it’s just not relevant” to him, but for whom is it particularly relevant? Certainly it is to the thousands who fight for it, who use it to inform their practice so that it does not grope in the dark. But alas, it is irrelevant to this one guy in an activist troupe out in Virginia. What is relevant to him is vague ultra-left communism and whatever the hell post-socialism is…

We could not be more disappointed with this garbage conclusion to an otherwise good project. However we have already pointed to this trajectory in our last report detailing the progress of our party-building efforts in the form of RGA cadre school, where we stated,Some comrades have abandoned MLM altogether, and it is our hope that we will win them back through practice and persuasion.We should add that not all can be won back to the cause. Some are too arrogant and others were just pretending to be Maoists to begin with.

We expect no response to this piece and doubt the author of the last post on Signalfire or their organization would care enough to provide one. We do not fault comrades for getting disheartened or demoralized. Sometimes these kinds of burnout are inevitable and we should help those suffering from burnout. What we cannot find acceptable or tolerable is propagating defeatism and demoralization to conclude years of work (without any self-criticism or reflection of individual involvement!), projecting your burnout onto others, and trying to discredit Maoism unprincipledly. Signalfire, when it began to become a Maoist-inspired project back in 2011, posted a piece from this same author titled A Farewell to Ultra-left Idealism.” Unfortunately it has come back full circle to ultra-left idealism, so this is our farewell to Signalfire. We await new sites that will serve its former use as a resource for news and theory from comrades in other places of the world, minus the individualist and arrogant ramblings of that editor. And should the editor read this, we thank you for knowingly or unknowingly helping in the creation of many Maoists who were inspired by the news articles you made available. We all look forward to proving you wrong in practice. If our response seems unnecessarily harsh to readers, we find that the framing of ideological struggle as sectarianism is behavior fitting of liberals who would gut the International Communist Movement of the hard-earned lessons learned in class struggle. This vile and opportunist behavior merits such a pointed response.

MLM lives, long live MLM!

-Red Guards Austin 2016

Criticism of the unprincipled actions of the MonkeyWrench Books collective

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The following is a criticism of the unprincipled actions of the MonkeyWrench Books collective (MWB).

From our inception RGA as an organization has enjoyed a positive relationship with MWB, supporting them both as a collective and as a community space. We have maintained a good working relationship with its members in the realm of activism and community work and have always regarded them as comrades. This has been, to our understanding, mutually beneficial, but as Maoists we know that one divides into two—that the law of contradiction is correct; that opposites can unite but unity is secondary to struggle, and that in these struggles unity is always a temporary condition. This statement is issued with the intention of continuing struggle in a public form—to place that struggle before the masses and our supporters, whether they be anarchists or communists, so that they may determine which line is correct and we can establish greater unity within our own ranks as well as greater unity with those in our community.

Over the course of more than a year, RGA has had members offering support to MWB in the form of volunteering to work shifts at their store. We have always helped promote their events as well as accepted invitations to hold our own events there that maintained a revolutionary and anti-capitalist character. More than a year ago, RGA hosted a very successful International Working Women’s Day event there. We have worked alongside our comrades in Serve the People as well as the Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People against Capitalism (RATPAC), who have hosted or helped host events at MWB. RGA has hosted May Day planning meetings as well as a score of other projects at MWB, all of which were inclusive to anyone of any ideological anti-capitalist tendency. Our relationship up to this point has been good and productive and has increased solidarity among the radical left in Austin.

Due to recent developments detailed in this statement, we can no longer enjoy comradely relations between MWB and RGA and can no longer support or endorse MWB or its claim of being a “community space”

* * *

In order to provide a basis for our claims, we offer the following brief summary of the recent goings-on involving MWB as well as their interactions with RGA.

Once at the end of May 2016 and then again in the beginning of June, two reading group sessions conducted as part of RGA’s Cadre School program were held at MWB.

During this whole time and well before, MWB continued to host a bi-weekly reading group of Jacobin—a communist magazine.

Not long after the second RGA reading group session, a member of MWB told an RGA cadre that he (the MWB member) planned to seek to have MWB declare these reading sessions unwelcome in MWB. When a line struggle emerged between them, the RGA cadre was informed that while other ostensibly communist reading groups would be allowed, RGA posed a particular threat due to our successful organizing attempts in the city, and that it was due in part to this success that he opposed us being able to access the space. Upon hearing this, RGA began hosting these reading group sessions in other locations.

Once MWB had a chance to meet and have a thorough discussion of the question, on June 21, we heard back that they had indeed decided that RGA was not welcome to conduct these reading group sessions at MWB.

Additionally, on July 4, at this year’s “Fuck the Fourth” a fundraising event put on by the Austin chapter of RATPAC, two members of MWB showed up without permission and set up a table to promote their propaganda, sell their merchandise, and seek donations.

Finally, in a less than two weeks from now, on July 24, MWB plans to host a discussion of an anti-Maoist book.

* * *

First, we say that MWB is deceitful. Publicly, they announce themselves to be a “social space” where they strive to form “connections across the lines that can separate and segregate us from one another.” Nowhere on their website do they announce that the collective that operates this bookstore is an anarchist collective. Only when asked to offer an explanation for why RGA’s reading groups were unwelcome did they declare that it is indeed an anarchist project.

When one of RGA’s cadres, who had been volunteering at their bookstore, first asked for a rationale for why MWB was considering disallowing RGA from conducting its reading group sessions there, one of MWB’s members told our cadre that “there will be no political party/ group organizing/ events at the store” and again, later, that they did not welcome “political organizing of a specific political body.” In fact, this is not true—Anarchist Black Cross regularly organizes events out of their bookstore. This same member later went on to say that MWB is not any “particular politic.” We do not know how to conclusively interpret the fact that this MWB member was so quick to deny that any specific political organizing happened at MWB despite the fact that this is not true, or to deny that MWB had a particular political ideology despite the fact that they are without question an anarchist project—but we would be remiss not to mention it.

Second, we hold that they are hypocritical and sectarian, and that this is made clear when one contrasts the rationales offered up in the notes of their June 21 meeting with their actual practice.

In those notes, they offered multiple reasons for their decision and wrote, “We intentionally avoided composing a unified statement of opposition because one isn’t possible, given the nature of the [MWB] collective.” We would like to say preemptively that while of course it is their right to operate this way, we insist that it is only fair to hold the collective as a whole, as well as each of its individual members, accountable for each of the rationales being put forward and as well as for any actions taken by its members and volunteers in the name of MWB. We maintain this position because in fact each member of MWB ongoingly re-chooses to remain in a collective with each other member of MWB. If a particular member’s rationale is objectionable or hypocritical, all the other members nonetheless proceed in full awareness that this is who they’re working with. We say that the members and MWB as a whole should not let bureaucracy conceal their accountability for the decisions being made by this project they lend their names and reputations to.

With that said, the following were the reasons they offered for their decision in their June 21, 2016, meeting notes:

“- Ideology: Monkeywrench is a loosely anarchist space, a maoist organization meeting once a week to produce more maoists conflicts with an anarchist project.

– Reputation: some felt like the frequency of the study group increases the chances of people thinking of monkeywrench as a place to go to find out about maoists. If events are once in a while, there’s less of an obvious connection.

– Approach: some didn’t like the perceived lack of open-endedness and recruitment-orientation of the study group.”

Even though they here acknowledge that they are in fact an anarchist project, they are still not being forthright. Months before RGA’s first reading group at MWB and to this day (more than a month after RGA’s second and final reading group session there), they continue to allow a study group for Jacobin magazine to meet in their bookstore. To be clear, the communist ideology of Jacobin is at least as irreconcilable with anarchism as RGA’s communist ideology.

What’s more, to frame the study group sessions RGA was holding as “recruitment-oriented” is either incomprehensible or in bad faith. What is a “recruitment orientation”? Is it possible for a political organization to hold an event that is not recruitment oriented in the broad sense? Does presenting works from a given tendency count as “recruitment orientation”? If so, then MWB’s presence at Fuck the Fourth was “recruitment-oriented.” In this sense, it is also hard for us to imagine what they think the Jacobin study group intends other than to create more communists, just as, in every action they take, MWB assuredly hopes to attract people to their own perspective. If “recruitment orientation” is something more substantive and specific than this, then their claim is baseless and in bad faith—one of MWB’s members attended our reading group and can himself attest that at no point were any calls or pitches made to join RGA or any organization, nor to undertake any actions at all.

Furthermore, we also find it absurd that they claim that they do not want people to think of their bookstore as a place to go to find out about Maoists when in fact they plan on hosting an “informational” event to slander and mischaracterize Maoism in their store on July 24.

What could possibly motivate their double standards? We struggle to find another reason than that want to be treated as non-competitors, while proactively striving to maneuver against other anti-capitalist tendencies that are actively organizing in the city. For an organization that takes objection to perceived ideological rivals organizing in spaces they maintain, they appear to have no qualms about opportunistically arriving to recruit to their own ideology and fundraise for their project in spaces created by their perceived rivals, as they did at a communist organization’s fundraising event on July 4.

We say that they have drawn a line of demarcation and, though they enforce it unevenly when it suits them, they behave as though, when it comes to a perceived rival tendency, only they are allowed to cross over the line, while the reverse is not welcome. We consider this not only to be sectarian but also to foster an elitist, do-nothing mentality. Throughout our relationship with MWB we have always dropped or rescheduled events that contradicted with anything going on at MWB. We have only hosted events or reading groups at times when the store would not be in use, as was the case with this reading group in particular. MWB would rather have an empty space than allow successful community organizers to host reading groups—at a bookstore, no less. Due to the eclectic nature of the material sold at the store, we find it hypocritical to police what we were reading (Lenin) since they are host to all sorts of liberal events. We find it anathema that they would censor what we are allowed to read and have discussion on. Is their eclectic ideology so weak that they fear it cannot stand up to Lenin? Are their own criticisms of Lenin so weak that they must fear making them? We still hold that struggle, especially ideological struggle, is good for the development of comrades, and we fear no criticism or critical approach.

While MWB can invoke “anarchism” when convenient, what they mean is petty-bourgeois liberalism and an aversion to principled struggle. They can agree neither on what anarchism is nor on what the space should exist to promote. In this mess they maintain that their positions on banning us are different from person to person, yet they have reached consensus on our collective, and exercised their power over the space to censor us and in this way have treated friends like enemies. Many of the anarchist arguments against communist-led countries in the past are based around ideological suppression and censorship of anarchist thinking—yet here it is they who act like the state and use their power to isolate comrades over ideological differences while we still say LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM, LET A HUNDRED THOUGHTS CONTEND. We do not feel that any thinking should be banned. If it is correct it will triumph and if it is false it should be openly debated and defeated. “Anarchists” behaving like thought police is a trend we have seen in numerous failed anarchist projects, and we are sad to see MWB on that same cynical road to nowhere. If they oppose or fear the words of Lenin, then they should come prove their position is correct, not suppress struggle by exercising property rights over us. While we are ideologically opposed to the metaphysical approach taken by anarchism, we still hold that anarchists and communists should work together and unite anywhere unity is possible. Since anarchists are not reformists, we see them as friends of the revolution and have always treated them as such, so this sectarian abuse of power without allowing for real ideological struggle is an affront to both anarchist and Maoist principles.

Third and finally, we would like to take this opportunity to point out a couple of facts about their offerings. One of the many strands of anarchism they feel comfortable promoting is anarcho-primitivism, or “anti-civilization” anarchism (there is a dedicated section in their zine area). In truth, this strand of anarchism is crypto-fascist, in practice trans-antagonistic and antagonistic to the struggle for an end to disability. While our primary point here is to call attention to their active promotion of this despicable, anti-human ideology, we would also like to observe that it is further evidence of their sectarian attitude, being willing to promote one of the most vile theories that flies under the flag of anarchism while actively organizing against one of the strands of communism, Maoism, that most often sees anarchists converting to it because of the kinship in spirit between the two ideologies. They also promote Vice magazine, a liberal, hipster rag that regularly repeats pro-U.S. imperialist talking points. Do they not find selling materials that promote the agenda of the most deadly and violent imperialist power on earth conflicts with their anarchist project?

CONCLUSION

At this time it is they who have chosen to try to isolate active revolutionary organizers from their property, and it is they who have begun drawing hard lines of demarcation. This has not prevented struggle—on the contrary, it has transformed the struggle. Due to this we hold firm that we will no longer attend or support events there. We discourage any illusions that MWB is a community space and will respond with initiating a boycott on those grounds. We have removed our volunteers and withdrawn all support. We have no intention of organizing with them as a collective or supporting their space to any extent, socially, politically, or economically. We encourage them to reevaluate the capitalist positions they have taken and to rectify this by offering up a genuine self-criticism. We encourage them to learn who their friends are and who their enemies are before they posture any further as a community space or as anti-capitalists in general, let alone as revolutionaries.

Update from Cadre School

 

cadreschoolpictureAlmost three months ago Red Guards Austin embarked on a program called Cadre School. This program was intended to offer a material approach to advance building the Maoist party. Failed attempts at party building by the Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party and to a lesser degree by the Maoist Communist Group helped to inform us of the necessity of such an ambitious project. Both national organizing efforts have collapsed due to different internal contradictions, and while this article is not focused on these now defunct groupings of US Maoists, it was the errors we identified in their approach to party building that have set us on this course and left us as the only MLM collective in the country that is prioritizing party building at this time, while comrades in other cities who we support are rightly focusing on consolidating their new collectives or rectification of past errors. Some comrades have abandoned MLM altogether, and it is our hope that we will win them back through practice and persuasion. *** we must offer clarification, the NYC branch (which appears to be the majority) of the MCG still retain the name, goals and purpose. Statements from this group are infrequent at best. 

The two major errors we identify can be understood as cliquishness or paternalistic orientations toward smaller or newer collectives, as well as a hands off approach – waiting for a collective to form, make waves, and then be absorbed into the larger body. These two organizations became defunct (at least as a multi-branch org) without much ceremony, and neither former project has (as of now) issued a summation of why and how they split apart, so by no means do we present our limited perceptual knowledge as fully formed rational knowledge. We hope that everyone involved in those party building efforts in any capacity will present their analysis on why these projects failed, which would be of service to us and everyone else seeking to build a Maoist Communist Party.

As detailed in our positions paper Condemned To Win, we hold that while party building is the principal task for all revolutionary communists, it must be done through the masses themselves and large numbers of people must be transformed into communists; there must be an advance in the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, paying close attention to the concrete conditions and the class struggle. We hold that the purpose and measure of being a communist is serving the people and that the party must be forged in this activity. While we cannot place party building in a time frame right now or speculate what every step will look like, we would also be wrong to pass the important questions facing our movement off to a later date and, by doing so, content ourselves to tailing the initiatives of the masses.

These are some of our most basic reasons for developing RGA Cadre School. To better understand our approach to creating cadre, we must first mention a bit about the Maoist approach to eduction, which is largely informed by the universal lessons earned through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China led by Mao Zedong. Mao’s approach to education can be read about in several documents, including Remarks at the Spring Festival, Reform Our Study, and Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing, just to name a few. The communist movement in China more than anywhere else brought revolutionary theory to the broadest masses of people, and the publication of Quotations from Chairman Mao has sold more copies than any other work of non-fiction in the history of the world [the only book to sell more copies is the Christian Bible.] Maoist education focuses on two important things: the class struggle and transformation. Credentials are not of the academic bourgeois variety and this turns the approach to learning upside down. The relationship between theory and practice is fully recognized by the combination of study with production. It would be impossible to approach teaching new cadre if we did not allow these things to inform our methods of work.

 

The first round of Cadre School attendees have arrived and began classes, mass work, and political work almost 3 months ago and we feel it is now time to offer up some of these experiences to others in the movement. The first thing we must assert is that teachers learn just as students teach, so Cadre School is formulated and led by a committee of both attendees elected by their peers as well as RGA cadre tasked with the project. This prevents the rise of experts and keeps the attendees active in their own education. Attendees were not chosen at random but based on what we determined would be most useful for the building of the party, so representatives from both the east and west coasts were chosen to participate. As part of our ongoing efforts to combat patriarchy on the left we chose to prioritize women and non-men who compose the whole of our first class. This first class has been our prototype, our best opportunity to learn through doing. The basic method we chose was to combine intensive theoretical study, debate and two line struggle, mass work among the people, physical labor, a structured disciplined life, arduous struggle and plain living, and specific tasks for each person with overall projects and objectives to complete.

The first hurtle came in the form of uneven theoretical development, as not all people have the same background and we feel that we would have made real mistakes to choose only those with extensive book knowledge on MLM. Furthermore, not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. We have no intention of reproducing bourgeois education so some of our teachers as well as students have different learning abilities. All of this is, and must be, an ongoing struggle to restrict the emergence of elitism and self interest in the realm of theoretical study – which in a communist collective can create divisions and social status. We have witnessed some revisionist organizations hold back the theoretical development of rank and file members and safeguard access to theory to the most “trusted” within the formation – usually white men. To confront and resolve this contradiction we made efforts to diversify our study material to include films, documentaries etc. We took care to never let our study groups turn into long boring lectures, instead they are participatory and lecturing, when necessary, is a shared task. Line struggle and debate are encouraged throughout theoretical study. This contradiction has been mitigated but not resolved and it will remain a work in progress, while what we have accomplished is a lively method of study that utilizes the principles of consolidating the advanced to win over the intermediate and bring up anyone falling behind. Ideological consolidation is a reiterative and ongoing process of line struggle.

 

The second hurtle is developing a structured and disciplined lifestyle. This is done through always trying to be better organized and paying close attention to morale and enthusiasm, which includes being there for those struggling and uniting around bringing them up. Capitalist society is selfish and self-indulgent and it does not foster good collective responsibilities – it discourages such support. Discipline is essential to the communist organization but it must never be arbitrarily enforced at the expense of comrades’ mental health. Discipline itself has to be constructed through the destruction of our individualism and this has to be done with great care for the well-being of comrades. Discipline when maintained the correct way should be understood as something that makes us stronger, healthier, and more united. It should have an overall positive effect on all who have attained acceptable levels of organizational as well as personal discipline.

One of the ways in which this is accomplished is through cutting out the excess, getting rid of the cloudy bullshit that fucks us up or makes us complacent. This is what we mean by plain living and arduous struggle. In order to provide all the basic necessities for one another we must often cut out what is not as important, and reject things that discourage struggling with the people and encourage laying about. It includes physical activity, exercise, healthy diets, and most importantly, comradely support. To be the most effective at our task we all feel that higher levels of discipline and struggle are needed than we experienced in our former lives. All of these principles should be accomplished through working together and being patient with one another, and never through commandments or mandates. This too will be uneven and people will always go back and forth, this must be understood as a struggle with many setbacks, but a struggle that is worth it. We have seen the discipline and commitment rise sharply in ourselves as well as those in attendance through such a project. As communists we do not believe in perfection, we believe in motion – in transformation.

 

RGA Cadre School seeks to provide revolutionary theory and practice to committed comrades outside of our locale, who can return home and use their experience and knowledge to get organized there. It is essential that all experienced MLM organizers take an active role in the formation of new revolutionary collectives that will root themselves among the masses and continue to grow. It is through these comrades that strong revolutionary collectives will be formed, offering the pre-party formation a far reach and containing a higher level of unity established through close ties derived from practice. Comrade Mao lays out some of our principles when he stated:

 

“Our Party organizations must be extended all over the country and we must purposefully train tens of thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders versed in Marxism-Leninism [today Maoism], politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own, steadfast in the midst of difficulties and loyal and devoted in serving the nation, the class and the Party. It is on these cadres and leaders that the Party relies for its links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that the Party can succeed in defeating the enemy. Such cadres and leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity, and arrogant sectarianism, and they must be selfless national and class heroes; such are the qualities and the style of work demanded of the members, cadres and leaders of our Party.”

 

As we are now coming to the end of this first attempt we are still in the process of summarizing and synthesizing this initial, modest effort. We will further advance our efforts and elaborate this program in other documents as we gain more insight. This is a program we intend to continue and improve upon. The only real test for our efforts will be shown in the work of those in attendance as they move forward with their own collectives. It will be the success of new revolutionary collectives which will prove our approach in practice, and it is this that we look forward to the most. We will close with a few words from some of the comrade attendees.

 

“Cadre School has been, as of yet, the most intellectually intensive experience of my life. I came here a communist in name but with little practice. Six hours of studying most days, mass work, and participating in meetings – this has all led to what I feel is an accelerated ideological development, and I have gained the ability to take on a leadership role when I go back to the city I came here from.”

 

“What I’ve learned in Cadre School is, in a word, how to be a good communist (not the Liu Shaoqi type) in the 21st century imperialist metropolis. What this takes is 1) serious revolutionary study – not taken in the abstract and pursued for an academic hobby but being read with the current conjuncture in mind at all times; 2) active and ongoing mass work – the Maoist job is to orient ourselves toward the masses and not small petty-bourgeois activist cliques; these will be won over or isolated in the course of revolutionary practice, but that practice starts from communists integrating ourselves with the masses (this is an especially important point to grasp for people who were previously solely engaged in student organizing, such as myself); 3) a high level of discipline and willingness (if not an eagerness) to both submit one’s thoughts to the collective in order to boost two-line struggle and criticism/self-criticism, as well as to fully submit to the decisions of the collective when it comes to one’s actions – without this level of discipline, it would not be possible to build the revolutionary party capable of all the triumphs that we seek. These may seem like simple points, but before Cadre School I studied revolutionary works with an academic mindset, oriented myself toward petty bourgeois student organizing, and had no serious conception of a revolutionary discipline. All these developments will surely better prepare me for advancing the Maoist party building effort.”

 

“Years of organizing in a revisionist party left me somewhat demoralized, but also in desperate need of guidance and calibration as a communist if I were to continue on the path that history is demanding of us. While I was capable of leading people, practical organizing, and taking bold actions, at the same time my mind was rife with egotism, subjectivism, careerism, and overall individualism. This is because I was severely lacking experience in the two key areas that are stressed by RGA: mass work that actually involves utilizing the mass line in serving the people, and serious collective criticism/self-criticism. In struggling to acclimate to the reality of carrying out these tasks, I eventually reached a crisis point where my inner bourgeois self and my communist self came to the fore as an open antagonistic contradiction that demanded resolution. Through the help of my comrades here, I have since engaged in a process of thought reform to enable my communist self to overcome my bourgeois self. This means that I have started to learn how to turn Maoism inwards, instead of it being something that I only projected outward into the world. Thus I have begun to really understand the essence of the dialectical unity of my thought and my practice, and have begun to more thoroughly unite my own self-interest with that of the interest of the proletarian class. To continue on this road means to truly fear no difficulty, no hardship, to shun even death itself in order to serve the people, unite with the people, and fight alongside the people to destroy all exploitation & oppression and reach the total harmony of communism.”

 

 

What the fuck is wrong with the Black Lives Matter Movement in Austin?!

Red Guards Austin is committed to the interests of the oppressed and exploited people. We believe the masses of people deserve a fighting organization that stands with the people and clearly identifies who our friends are and who our enemies are. We do not stand for unprincipled peace with pigs, or any other reactionary force that wishes to stifle the rebellion and might of the people, and it is because of these principles that we do NOT work with organizations such as Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) and other pig apologists that have found themselves in the forefront of the recent resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Last Friday at 7pm, AJC and a few other liberals and liberal organizations held a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration at the Capitol. Pigs were stationed all over down town due to a cry for more security from chief pig Art Acevedo and for Austin Police Department to militarize over a vague Facebook threat against the pigs which has never been produced or substantiated. APD were crawling all over and in the surrounding areas of the capitol stationed with AR-15s as well as police snipers on downtown rooftops, a reminder that they are ready to end your life at any moment. Nevertheless the liberals did what they do best by hopping on the mic positioned above the crowd on the capitol steps with the pigs right behind them. It was the typical NGO speech we’ve all heard far too often: we need to “love each other” “respect one another” “buy from black businesses” and “vote for Hillary.” These are the words of traitors to the people. Not even an inkling of revolutionary spirit could be found in these sellouts or their tired ass speeches.

From poems, to singing songs, to coercing the people into a group prayer, the organizers of the event pulled out all the stops for a typical grab at money, profiting off of people’s murders while begging for peace and love from their murderers. And it is no speculation or assumption that these organizers (and in particular Chas Moore) were making an effort to use this mockery of a rally to make money. Chas himself urged to crowd to donate to the organizations. But what he didn’t mention is how AJC—an organization founded by him and Fatima Mann—works directly with the APD. They basically work as a buffer between the rage of the people and the unchecked brutality and repression of the police. Their whole organization rests on being in bed with the pigs and they even admit that to be apart of their Citizen’s Panel Review (CRP), you have to be trained by none other than the murdering pigs themselves.

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Screenshot from AJC’s website detailing their campaings

This effectively makes AJC the token mouthpieces of the pigs and is a blatant stab in the back to the ever-shrinking population of black people in Austin, who have to brave the hostile Austin cracker paradise that values tech companies, condos, and margaritas over the lives of black people. If Chas told the people to donate to the pigs to end the police killing of Black people, people would rightfully jack his ass up, but the reality is that that is exactly what he is calling on folks to do. AJC is the epitome of traitors to the people!

Chas Moore once said, “Some people call me the new Malcolm X,” but this clearly lacks a historical analysis—as Malcolm X himself said, “Who ever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing ‘We shall overcome … Suum Day…’ while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against? Who ever heard of angry revolutionists swinging their bare feet together with their oppressor in lily-pad park pools, with gospels and guitars and ‘I have a dream’ speeches? And the black masses in America were—and still are—having a nightmare.” This sort of black performance art decorates the activist resume of Chas Moore. It would be far better fitting to call Chas the new Al Sharpton.

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Chas Moore

He stands in front of crowds of people who are desperate for revolution, trading advocating Black militancy for Black complacency. Trying to convince the masses of black people that we’re getting murdered, thrown in prison, living in wage labor servitude to white-supremacist capitalism merely out of a lack of communication and sympathy from our oppressors. There is nothing revolutionary about Stockholm syndrome. Trying to identify with our oppressors is a tired, fruitless effort that only serves to strengthen our enemies and weaken the people. But Chas Moore is only one-half of the fucked-up leadership of AJC. Fatima Mann is also a repeat offender of selling out people in Austin. Apart from being a co-founder AJC, she was the star of Thursday night’s Blue Lives Matter fiasco (a memorial event for the dead pigs in Dallas), where she gave a performance deserving of an Oscar as she seemed gripped with emotion and proceeded to hug the head pig Acevedo while holding a glow stick, for a photo op.

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Fatima Mann embracing the grimiest pig in Austin, Art Acevedo

It seems her “activism” is a far cry from the person Austin activists got to know in the days when the now-defunct ISO front group People’s Task Force was leading demos during the first wave of BLM. The Fatima we knew back then seemed to be opposed to the liberal organizing methods of PTF and always argued that they were not in service of the black community in Austin. She expressed a frustration with the PTF organizers at their open meetings and argued for more Black involvement. Some activists were led astray and fell in line behind this woman who on the surface appeared to be to the left of the Trotskyite-led organization, but once she accumulated a group of folks who trusted her leadership, she took a sharp turn to the right, with the founding of AJC and dived head-first into police apologism and collaboration.

It usually takes years or even decades of beating their heads against the wall of liberal activism before we see the demoralization and assimilation of what were once radicals into the mire that is electoral politics—vying for seats on the city council and endorsing fine-tuned war machines like the Hillary Clinton. But luckily AJC has spared us this illusion and busted out the gate showing their true colors and showing themselves for the aspiring politicians and badge-lickers they are. From their inception they have maintained a hostile relationship with the militants among the masses, by ignoring and even outright silencing members of the community that don’t wanna stand around, read poems, sing songs, and cry. They’ve pulled such maneuvers as hosting a silent march about 1 year ago where they enforced segregating the crowd by race and strictly enforced adherence to rules laid down by APD of where we were “allowed” to walk and “shushing” people who dared talk to their friends, family, and comrades during the march. After the murder of David Joseph, AJC pulled the plug on an anti-police activist for being critical of their apparent collaboration. The AJC recently hosted a vigil where black folks who wanted to express their anger and break into a march were discouraged, leaving a small section of the crowd to break off from the vigil anyway and march to the precinct, while AJC and other organizers of the vigil degenerated into arguing amongst themselves and completely neglecting the masses of people and the initiatives the people wanted to take. This is the modus operandi of NGO organizations like AJC. Chas himself openly talks of how he will not always be an activist and will one day be in office, so eager to boast about his promised seat at the master’s table.

Black leadership or Radical black leadership?

As happens with many rebellious movements, an NGO arose from the BLM mass initiative. Black Lives Matter is a national organization that arose out of the real necessity for black leadership. But with the popularity of postmodernism in our current political climate, identity-reductionist politics pushed certain black women to the forefront of this movement who, though they may have had great intentions and a genuine desire to see change, have not provided a clear revolutionary strategy for dismantling the racist capitalist system. They do not have a consolidated ideology that can guide them to victory. They have found themselves being bought up by the ruling class in the form of social status and funding from companies like Google. Make no mistake, this money is meant to neutralize radical forces. These rich crackers won’t bat an eyelash if a younger version of the NAACP arises from a movement that started as a rebellion. In fact, that is most excellent for the ruling class, who rule more through consent than coercion. Since organizations like the NAACP have become antiquated and stamped with the past of the most tamed elements of the civil rights movement, young people are finding themselves more and more disenfranchised with the rich blacks in suits who sit comfortably in their city office jobs leaving behind the masses of black people who are hungry, angry, and dying; so they turn to taking matters into their own hands by taking to the streets and fucking things up for the police, the landowners, and the bosses. They would rather pretend they don’t notice the dire condition of our people. So it serves the capitalist class’s interest quite well to invest in an organization arising from such a movement that is so thoroughly toothless, liberal, and easily molded that the ruling class can fund it and transform it into a more “relateable” NAACP. And just like that, they recycle the group of black folks they are forced to keep comfortable in the soft shackles of blood money in order for their leadership to be used as a weapon against the people. Because now they have built something..now they have something material to lose. The ruling class is not stupid, and history has proven to them over and over again that with money comes power, control, and the ability to manipulate movements through those whom they can buy up. This is the local equivalent of America’s foreign policy with countries in Africa that have the potential of rebelling; to keep sending them “aid” is to keep them reliant on and enslaved to a system that doesn’t give a fuck about the people and is out for their natural resources. Make no mistake: black people in this country are used to their fullest extent by the capitalist class. We constitute an oppressed nation of cheap labor for the capitalist class, a class that will mow us down the second they can’t get whatever it is that they want out of us. It is this exploitation and the black nation’s need for liberation that fuels our fighting spirit.

Radical black leadership MUST BE thoroughly anti-capitalist. Our desire for revolution is our guard against bribes. Our goals must be fundamentally revolutionary, and with that in mind we have to remind ourselves that no revolution can be fought or won without the masses of people. Ain’t no small group of committed black activist gunna sing their way into power. We have to arm the masses with revolutionary theory and critical, material analysis that can embody lessons derived from the history of class struggle and revolution. The masses need the leadership of a revolutionary party capable of representing and serving the interest of the masses of people. It is through this historical analysis that Red Guards Austin was formed as a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collective guided by the universally applicable philosophy and science of revolutionary communism. Revolutionary communists must be engaged in work among the masses. We cannot simply ride the wave of movements and wait for the “right conditions” for revolution. Our work must be that of creating the forces capable of leading revolution, meaning exploiting and exposing the contradictions of this system, not trying to mask and flatten them the way organizations like Austin Justice Coalition are set up to do. RGA has initiated and led such efforts and organizations that exist among the people and in service of the people, operating outside of the system to provide advanced revolutionary theory to all of our class.

AJC is an organization whose existence is dependent on the police and police murders. They operate like leeches, sucking the energy right out of a movement that was in its inception far more radical than AJC would like to acknowledge. They profit off of a movement that they are strangling with their incessant refusal to become anything more than a voter registration sign-up at best and at worst black foot soldiers of the pigs. These sorts of organizations will always arise from movements. Movements are not revolutions, and it is the job of revolutionaries to understand the limitations of movements and pull the angry masses of people who show up and show out into organizations that are capable of providing revolutionary leadership, and a scientific strategy for success.

Movements come and go, alone they are capable of only the most meager reforms—reforms that can only amount to table scraps cast casually to the hungry masses from the master’s table. We do not wait for such scraps. Instead we must build our forces and contend with the fundamental question of liberation. Liberation means nothing less than self-determination for black people, socialist revolution, and a continuation of struggle that prevents the rise of bosses or their racist police forces. We fight for this world in our daily practice, and unlike AJC we have nothing to lose but our chains.

I am a working-class black woman. I am a revolutionary communist. I am a Red Guard, and I don’t fuck with NGOs or wannabe politicians.

Condemned to Win! Position paper from Red Guards Austin, 2016

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CONDEMNED TO WIN!
Position paper from Red Guards Austin, 2016

Part 1. On revolutionary communist principles

Introduction

“The struggle of the proletariat and the revolutionary people to change the world comprises the fulfillment of the following tasks: to change the objective world and, at the same time, their own subjective world—to change their cognitive ability and change the relations between the subjective and the objective world.”—Mao

The theoretical basis that guides all of our work is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM); our principal ideology is Maoism. Maoism is composed of the most advanced ideas that have ever emerged from the history of working-class struggles—the history of the wars between classes. Maoism is the living science that was developed through this long and difficult struggle on every continent—from the Paris Commune, to the heights of China’s Cultural Revolution, to the popular war waged in Peru, where Maoism was theorized as the third and highest stage of all Marxism. Maoism still serves its purpose as the guiding ideology of the most advanced sections of the world’s working class as they wage tireless war on the capitalist system. All the victories and defeats that have been learned from have been synthesized into a weapon—this is Maoism, the only anti-revisionist, revolutionary communist ideology in the world today. Since MLM is a living science it must be understood as in-progress—nothing about it is static or trapped in time. We are only a small collective and it is far beyond our scope or the scope of this paper to present a detailed analysis of the situation both locally and globally that we must help apply MLM to. We can only seek to provide the basis for our own revolutionary perspective.

With the acceptance of our history as a communist movement comes the understanding that if we are to call ourselves communists, we must develop and practice true communist principles in our mass work, our political work, and in our daily lives. This includes conducting oneself as a true and genuine revolutionary—breaking with all narrow self-interests and individualist pursuits, living essentially for the people and for the world working-class revolution. This document hopes to shed some light on what is meant by living a communist life.

A communist life is not determined by theoretical sympathy or orientation; it is defined by serving the people. The best ideas when left in the heads of a few individuals are worth less than horse piss. Serving the people is primary. With any action, idea, or pursuit, we must ask ourselves, “What class does this serve?” The masses are the measure for our work in practice. Those who refuse to serve the people have already betrayed our revolutionary cause and stand as enemies in waiting. As servants of the people we must seek to be humble, willing to learn tough lessons from them, and always willing to take criticisms and make self-criticisms. These are indispensable tools of serving the people and rectifying our own errors. We must avoid small thinking here and go deep into our own beings, challenging every occurrence of ruling-class thinking. We hold that with these two things, serving the people and criticism/self-criticism, we will develop and grow, remaining accountable and genuine. That it is only through these two things that closely relate to one another that any organization will ever be able to advance the revolutionary situation in this country—that both things must be deep and thoroughgoing and only deepen over time and through reiterative practice. One should not simply call oneself a communist; one should earn that title daily. This is the struggle Red Guards seek to wage, and we sincerely invite others to join in this struggle—to struggle with us and unite together.

1 . The countrywide situation

The ruling class in the US is the capitalist class, who exploit and oppress the US population—especially the black, brown, and indigenous populations of the US, as well as its broad working classes in general. Imperialism has provided the US capitalist class with a wealth of internal colonies, populated as a result of both settler-colonialism and US imperialism displacing the populations of the oppressed nations, in the form of refugees and immigrants. While the capitalist-imperialist ruling class abuse “their own” population in the US, they are principally outwardly aggressive, seeking to subjugate the whole world to their domination one way or another. The world has been divided into two hostile camps: the haves and the have-nots. US corporations seek resources and cheap labor and will go to any violent length to get these things. They oppress and exploit us at home and extract super-profits via super-exploitation abroad. In the world today the number one enemy is the US capitalist-imperialist ruling class. This means that it is in our interests to kill the imperialist class for good before they get us all killed in more wars they cannot win as well as ecologically devastating production—leaving us nothing to inherit but a dead earth.

As the majority of the world’s populations are forced to fight US imperialism at ever-increasing levels, the ruling class of the US must hide behind its own population, using the lot of us as human shields. The capitalist class finds it less and less possible to take care of its own working class. This has resulted in the US becoming host to the world’s largest prison population and an ever-growing wage and wealth gap, creating a people who own nothing beyond their own debt. This inability to provide basic necessities for the majority of the population is the basis for popular interest in revolution in this country.

Because the US ruling class is the principal enemy of the world’s working class and their allied classes, the Maoists who organize in the heart of the imperialist beast have a special responsibility to our comrades the world over. Anything we accomplish here can help the world working-class revolution and inversely their victories and defeats are our own. These revolutions do not exist in a bubble but are part of the same world revolutionary project. We must live up to our role and responsibility; this requires nothing less than becoming an internationalist communist revolutionary.

Even though the workers in the heart of imperialism are exploited and oppressed it would be delusional to expect them to join a people’s war tomorrow. In many sections of society the workers continue to be ruled by consent rather than by coercion—especially in the white working class, who have been extended privilege on the basis of their whiteness, a necessary precaution taken by and to protect the ruling class. The working class is divided and must be united through struggle toward achieving their common long-term interests. It is the responsibility of revolutionaries to put in the work required to heighten the consciousness of the people. The working class already know that they are being messed over. There is little delusion when it comes to this. What must be proven to them in this struggle is that their fates are inextricable from the fates of their class siblings in the rest of the world. The working class and their class allies must be mobilized in their own interests by active and conscious revolutionary agents, and only through mass participation with communist leadership can the situation for the whole of the working class improve. We must build these mass movements and lead them in the effort to build their sharpest weapon, the party, which can only emerge from the masses and their struggles.

Within the US working class there are the oppressed nations, held prisoner within the US itself. As Comrade Stalin taught, a nation is “a historically evolved, stable community of people, based upon the common possession of four principal attributes, namely: a common language, a common territory, a common economic life, and a common psychological make-up manifesting itself in common specific features of national culture.”

In the US, these include internal colonies and captured peoples. In particular the US’s black population endure double and triple oppressions, facing mass incarceration, genocide at the hands of the police, unemployment, and dehumanization in the realm of American culture. The majority of the oppressed nations are workers themselves who inevitably find themselves on the forefront of revolutionary struggle. They must fight tooth and nail for their own liberation from this prisonhouse of nations. In order to win against such an enemy there has to be unity among the broader general working class as a whole. Within this working class there are also oppressed groups that do not constitute a nation, including ethnic groups, LGBTQ people, and women, all of whom face additional oppression stacked on top of their oppression as exploited workers. Revolutionary victory comes through the liberation of these oppressed groups, who share long-term interests with the majority of the US working class.

Leadership must be provided by a Maoist communist party. The capitalist state rules through repressive and violent means, such as the police, courts, and prisons; however its primary method of control comes in the form of its ideology. The ruling class distributes its ideology even among oppressed nations and oppressed groups in the form of education, advertisement, culture, and religion. This means that identity is not principal over class. Politics must be placed in command of all things, and only the revolutionary Maoist party can provide clear and correct political leadership. Right now there is no party that can rightly call itself a communist party, capable of establishing and wielding the great power of the people by building socialism and defending equality.

Only a socialist state in the form of working-class rule can address the needs of the people. Only a socialist state can guarantee that the people are fed, housed, educated, and clothed as well as guarantee that the masses have free time required to advance the revolution in the form of culture, creative expression, and development as human beings. Liberated people free of capitalist toil are alone capable of reaching their true potential.

Socialism itself is not the be-all, end-all goal of the communist revolutionary; it is only the transitional period in which the working class can break free of capitalist rule by suppressing the capitalist class as well as destroying the capitalists’ ideological, cultural, and economic influence, which inevitably outlives their role as a ruling class. The establishment of socialism in the form of working-class rule does not conclude the class struggle—it intensifies it. History has proven that capitalism can restore itself from its deep roots even if we chop down the tree. The socialist period is defined by this class struggle, this march toward victory—the continuation and intensification of the class struggle under the revolutionary rule of the working class and their party. The party itself, by its existence, becomes the most likely place for the new capitalist class to emerge. The masses must be mobilized to defend the gains of the revolution and push it ever forward, defeating all those in the party who would seek to betray the revolution and the revolutionary people. Through the continuation of the revolution, capitalist restoration will be checked and defeated, in an ongoing, unceasing process of cultural revolution until we achieve communism, which is a classless and stateless society. This understanding is one of the most important aspects of Maoism and can never be under-emphasized.

2. The friends and enemies of the revolution

The very first question posed by a revolutionary movement is, “Who are our friends? Who are our enemies?” How we answer this question means life or death for the revolutionary movement. The US is composed of many classes with various strata inside of each class. It is up to the revolutionaries to analyze each class and their class interests to determine their orientation toward revolution and ultimately where they will side in the long term. Each class is defined by their specific relationship to production. The economic situation is ever complex in an imperialist country such as the US, and correct understandings of how these classes relate to production as well as how they relate to each other are essential. The diverse range of sub-groups within the contending classes can nevertheless be understood as forming two basic antagonistic camps: the capitalist class and the working class. These two classes can never coexist in peace, as one is a tireless parasite on the other.

The capitalist ruling class owns everything: not only the means of producing what society needs to survive but also the means of distributing these goods and services, as well as the media and all major sources of information including social media. The rich own everything and we own nothing. The working class is forced to sell their time and labor in order to exist; we work only to live and live only to work, all the while creating value for the capitalist class. It is the value they take from our labor that creates the basic antagonistic contradiction between our classes. The capitalist class, in order to escape the brunt of these contradictions, has created elite sections of the working class who administer their interests—such people as highly paid laborers, managers, and intellectual laborers—who have been awarded certain benefits at the expense of the majority of workers. This higher section of workers face their own contradiction and the constant threat of being demoted back to the level of the rest of the workers. This section of the working class is always shrinking, and workers in this section become ever more acute in their loyalty to one of the two antagonistic classes. There is no “middle class” in the true sense. Rather, there are workers who have struggled for or been awarded a place of relative security, and there are those who have sold out their class siblings in the interest of siding with the capitalist class.

The capitalist class like the working class is also divided. There are small businesses and huge corporations. There are those who rent out their meager property and those who own ever-increasing amounts of property. The vast majority of the wealth is owned by a small number of capitalist families, who, through their cartels and business connections, own many different branches of industry. This elite section of the capitalist class is sometimes inefficiently referred to as the 1%. It poses a great threat not only to the working class but even to other sections of the capitalist class. The role of the revolutionary communist is to exploit and widen these contradictions anywhere possible. Most of the population comes into direct conflict with the interest of the elite monopoly capitalists. Everyone from small or independent business owners, teachers, farmers, students, and mental laborers to the very poor among the working class—all stand to benefit from breaking the rule of the elite. Those who stand to benefit from the overthrow of the monopoly capitalists are our friends.

Any genuine analysis of class in the US must include understanding internal colonies within the US. This includes black people, Chicanx people, Puerto Rican people, indigenous people, and the people of the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. The important role of these nations and peoples becomes clear in the fact that they experience both (a) the contradiction between the US working class and the US capitalist class and (b) the contradiction between the colonized people of the world and US imperialism. This struggle contains both the internal and external contradictions that the US working class and the workers of the world face. The right to self-determination of the oppressed nations up to the point of secession is essential to the establishment of the socialist state. Therefore we advocate the destruction of the US as we know it by breaking it into several smaller countries determined by the oppressed nations themselves. The right to self-determination of the oppressed nations means their right to secession.

3. “Racism” and patriarchy.

Racism is the word used most often to describe what really should be called national chauvinism. National chauvinism divides the working class and in essence turns them against their own collective interests, objectively strengthening the ruling class. This is a form of ruling-class ideology that must be defeated outright in the interests of working-class power. White supremacist capitalism is the main culprit of all national chauvinism, and all white-supremacist thinking must be eradicated. The settler-colonial history of the US has resulted in the continuation of a settler mentality among the white workers; they must be won over to the national liberation struggles on the basis of betraying their immediate, short-term interests in the colonial project and siding with the oppressed nations in the struggle for self-determination. This is in the long-term interest of the white working class as well, and cultivating this sentiment among the white working class is one of the tasks that must be taken up by white revolutionary communists. It is not enough to simply claim to be “anti-racist” while cashing in on the benefits of a racist society; genuine anti-racists must actively work to end white supremacy and break open the prisonhouse of nations.

Feminism should be understood as ideas that seek to disrupt and defeat the patriarchy that persists under capitalism. Patriarchy is intrinsically bound up in capitalist ideology and private property, and there can be no true feminism that is not rooted firmly in the working class. Women like men can be reactionary or revolutionary, capitalist or working-class, so feminism must also be partisan in this struggle, and only working-class feminism can be the weapon of oppressed women. Liberal capitalist feminism has achieved its goal of including capitalist-class women in the exploitation and oppression of working-class people, and it no longer serves any progressive function. At this point it can only serve ruling-class women against oppressed women.

Oppressed nations also contain within them sub-groups that face additional oppression: where black working-class men face a double oppression, black working-class women face a triple oppression. The liberation of working-class women generally is bound to the liberation of black women particularly. The liberation of one cannot occur without the liberation of the other. Oppressed nations and oppressed groups face stacked and overlapping oppression—which can be best defined as the combination of economic exploitation and lowered social status. Oppressed nations and oppressed groups face an intense combination of low-paying jobs and unequal pay for equal work. Women, which always includes trans women, also serve as a reserve labor pool, unemployed until cheap labor becomes needed in times of recession or war. Meanwhile, advertising in capitalist society perpetuates the submissive role of women as well as their commodification into a product, all while using women’s sexuality to sell more products.

The denigration and submission of women, a part of male supremacy, is a necessary part of the capitalist system and has a corrosive influence on the revolutionary movement itself. Male supremacy is a hindrance to the working class and materially serves the ruling class. Male supremacy and male chauvinism serve mainly the white men of the capitalist class and sometimes the elite strata of women in their keep.

Workers have no control over their own lives, but a deceptive feeling of actual power is sold to working-class men in the form of control over the conventional family and sometimes other women in their lives. This illusion gives “meaning” to a meaningless existence, to a life they live in service to the capitalist class while having their labor stripped away from them. It is nothing but a poisoned carrot on a stick controlled by the class enemy. Women are treated like dogs, awarded to men the way a pet is given to an unruly child, reproducing class relationships in a microcosm. Working-class men have an inextricable interest in the liberation of women whether they understand this yet or not. Control over the women in their lives is not true power; true power is only possible when the people take power away from this system.

The struggle of working-class women is bound up in the struggle for socialist revolution. Since the revolutionary movement is tainted by male chauvinism, women have a struggle on two fronts. On one hand they must combat the patriarchy in society, and on the other hand they must combat the patriarchy in the revolutionary movement. Men cannot and have not accomplished this, and to attempt such without women in positions of leadership would only reproduce patriarchy further within the ranks of the revolution itself. The role of women in leadership is indispensable, and throughout the majority of revolutionary organizations in the US women are under-represented. This is the fault of male chauvinism going unchecked among our ranks, which at best deprives the struggle of more than half its most committed participants and at worst subjects them to assault and rape from those pigs and liars calling themselves comrades.

4. What is the state?

States have not always existed and hence will not always exist. Superstitions about the state persist in various revolutionary camps as well as popular culture. The idea of the state as always existing lends it an air of invincibility and a monolithic stature. Inversely, the superstition of the state as the root of all oppression lends it a boogeyman characteristic, allowing the neglect of the very real task at hand. Both types of superstition serve to make the masses submissive to the state. The state, like everything else, has a class character. Lenin understood the state as an armed and administrative wing of class rule by which one class suppresses another. States all over the world today exist to maintain capitalist-class rule. The existence of the state itself proves that the contradictions between the two main classes are in fact irresolvable and antagonistic to their core. In order for the state to exist, classes must exist, and classes do not just vanish once the existing state is smashed or replaced.

One of the functions the state uses to perpetuate itself is the illusion of mass participation. In a capitalist country this illusion most commonly happens in the form of elections. Elections are nothing but theater concealing capitalist-class rule: the ruling class uses elections to disguise the class character of the state and its role in service to the capitalist class. Elections never can and never will change which class is in power. The only thing that changes is the appearance of the ruling class’s representative and which capitalist-approved concessions are being made. The tone and style of capitalist representatives can vacillate and shift back and forth, but the rich will always rule the poor until capitalism is forcibly thrown out. It cannot be reformed or voted out.

The working class cannot just take over or infiltrate the existing state structures and institutions. Even their best representatives will only be met with military coups (provided they do actually stick to their word). The workers and their party must thoroughly smash the state and all of its institutions. The state must be completely destroyed and replaced by a new, fresh working-class state. If centralized power is not implemented immediately by workers via their party and the people’s army, the deposed capitalist class will regain power without hesitation.

The existing rule of the capitalist class has created a toxic society, massive prison populations, unemployment, white supremacy, and backward nationalism. Capitalism breeds and reproduces an entire culture of dehumanization and self-deprecation—in a word, defeatism. It fosters a culture based on narrow self-interest, egotistical relationships—competition at all costs, where any cooperation is only determined by greater competition. This creates a disrespectful basis for all social relationships, between all people, relying on coercion instead of genuine respect and individual agency. In such conditions everyone is manipulated by profit motives and markets into isolated and alienated creatures. A by-product of this is depression and despair. The manipulation by profit results in human beings no longer being able to express their true selves, and all creativity is determined by what sells and what doesn’t. In such conditions rebellion is the last pure act, the last real expression that we have at our disposal. Not determined by capitalism’s interest, rebellion—fighting back, and celebrating that fight in the form of art and music—is in our own interest. It is not only correct to rebel, but it is a necessity to our survival.

The most concentrated form of working-class expression comes in the form of armed struggle. Such struggle exists to smash the existing state and the ruling class. The only way to get to the throat of the capitalist class is through the destruction of the state. There is no shortcut to this task and no way to circumvent it. The revolutionary organizations must remain steadfast in struggle alongside the masses of workers in all of our diversity. It is through struggle that all unity is earned. Not only must the working class struggle with itself but also with the revolutionary party. This process continues and unity increases among the friends of the revolution. The revolutionary must constantly struggle, not only with the backward ideas among the people but also against all self-interested, capitalist thinking. It is in this struggle that a genuine revolutionary culture will emerge and begin to replace the existing capitalist culture—especially in areas where we exert the most influence.

5. On communism

We are not the past generations of US communists; our potential is greater because we are armed with an understanding of their efforts in both their successes and failures. Capitalism has advanced and dominates the world, and the need for revolution is more pressing now than ever. The equation is simple: if we do not kill capitalism, it will kill us and the planet. This new generation of rebels should summarize the experience of all those who struggled before us and learn from that history. However, we have something that the former generations of US communists lacked: a correct ideology, the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is principally Maoism, along with the understanding that it is universal, that gives us a sharp advantage over those who lacked this deep insight in the past and have steered off course.

In the communist society that we seek to help create, classes and the state will cease to exist. This does not mean that contradictions between people cease to exist but that they take on new forms and would be non-antagonistic, meaning we would have a peaceful society that could collectively work for real solutions, leaving systematic violent solutions a thing of the past. Throughout the socialist period of transition and the rule of the working class, the division of labor will be eroded and various still-persisting manifestations of capitalist social relationships will be combated, both preventing a return to the old ways and hastening the changes in society that will usher in the era of communism. However, to finally put down the gun we must first pick up the gun.

We do not understand communism as some desirable distant dream but instead as a necessity that many brave comrades have laid down their lives to achieve on a long and steady march. We continue that work. In the entire struggle it takes to get there we must always remember exactly what it is that we are fighting for and never forget for one moment how much the masses need such a society. Rosa Luxemburg once said there are only two paths, socialism or barbarism—and this is true. The socialist path leads to this communist society while the capitalist path is barbaric, and what’s more this barbarism leads to ecological collapse, mass genocide, and potentially the end of the world. Only socialism can halt and reverse the devastation capitalism has wreaked on the environment. There can be no green capitalism because capitalism is profit-driven at all costs, while socialism is people-driven. For people to exist in harmony with the rest of life on earth, as they had for centuries before the invention of private property, we must establish a society based on common need and community. The current ecological situation merits a certain sense of urgency that has not been fully realized by past generations of communists.

6. Armed struggle and violence as the primary form of expression

We are not reluctant to fight, but we must fight with full strength and capacity, which is achievable only through mass participation. Ability to fight is first determined by a willingness to fight. Without willingness, we accept the slavery, oppression, and exploitation guaranteed to us in this system. Without fighting, we have only earned being ruled over. There is no way out of capitalism except with the gun in hand. The capitalist class has its armed representatives in the form of the military and police as well as private armies who face even fewer restrictions. If the ruling capitalist class wields such armed forces, the working class must also arm. The class enemy forces this to be so.

The police emerged as slave-catchers and strikebreakers and have existed in this capacity ever since. They are the very first line of armed defense for the capitalist class. The police will become the first to do battle with the armed workers’ movement, and only by armed victory over all the armed protectors of the capitalist state can the capitalist class be disarmed and tossed out. They started a war long ago, and the revolution aims to finish it.

Revolution and specifically organized armed revolution is a necessity. It is not just a question of saying what needs to be said but expressing it in the only effective way. We should be clear that any political strategy that does not seek to reach the level of armed struggle should be tossed aside. Nature, as well as human society, is violent. The process of change in all things is through rupture: the new breaking from the old, one thing dying as another is given life. Drastic social change is not exempt from this rule, and we communists should never mince words on this subject or lie to the masses of people.

Understanding the necessity of armed struggle, we must also understand that the revolution does not simply end after the seizing of state power. People power must be consciously maintained with the political rule of the working class over the capitalist class—the dictatorship of the proletariat, in other words. This working-class rule secures the transition to communism precisely by the suppression of antagonistic classes, who continue to exist and emerge even though they have been knocked down. Since the communist party is in the most advantageous role of leadership, the new capitalist class is most likely to re-emerge from within the party itself. In this position, they have the best opportunity to restore capitalism. This was a harsh lesson learned over the past failed attempts to develop a communist society. Their failures offer us greater understanding of both where the problems emerge and how to combat and defeat the problem of restoration. The only solution is that the masses be mobilized to knock down every capitalist that arises within our ranks at any point in our development. Through attacking bad elements within the party, the masses actually strengthen working-class rule and the dictatorship of the proletariat, through increasing its class character and purging it of its capitalist aberrations and corrupt party officials, thus protecting and securing the rule of our class and pursuing the socialist path to communism.

The role of the party is to lead the masses of people to victory. The party cannot be dispensed with. This party must command the revolutionary people’s army. The party can be thought of as the head: it must be healthy and connected to all of its limbs. The loss of any limb could result in death, and so the people’s army, the people, and the united front must all be nurtured and protected. The party should be composed only of the most dedicated: those who are willing to give their whole life to the party and to the people. Braggarts and careerists with narrow self-interest will never put the party first, and if they are not checked they should quickly find themselves isolated.

7. Build the party

History consistently proves that eruptions and rebellions will occur, sparked by the initiative of the masses themselves with no guidance from revolutionary leadership—but it also proves that these eruptions and rebellions by themselves are incapable of ousting the capitalist class and establishing working-class power. Human beings in all their diversity must be organized for victory. When we are swept up in movements that lack revolutionary leadership it is possible to ride a high tide for some time before the movement reaches its inevitable limits and those involved find themselves washed up ashore. Worse than the lack of leadership, however, is incorrect leadership—opportunists within the people’s movement who seek only to capture moments of the people’s outrage, dull them down, suffocate the energy, and commodify it into a marketable slogan in order to use it for their own capitalist motives, often to achieve electoral office or some other position of prestige in bourgeois society.

The current generation of rebels has witnessed several such movements come and go. Occupy Wall Street, for instance, wasted away the energy of a lot of young militants with its aimless and disorganized demands and hours of “consensus.” Or take the current example of the Black Lives Matter movement, which birthed official BLM organizations that use the rebellions as only a platform to advance their leaders so far into the capitalist political mire that they can become honored guests of war criminals like Hillary Clinton. These leaders in both cases do not care one bit for the masses of people, who are nothing but street theater extras in their spectacle to appeal to the oppressor class. These leaders have effectively served the ruling class by diverting the energy of the rebellions away from revolution and into the prison of reformism. Here smiles and handshakes are the course, having the same effect as a dagger in the hand of an assassin.

The initiative of the masses and their spontaneous rebellions are good things and must always be respected and advanced in a more revolutionary direction. These instances of genuine rebellion and rebellious movements have a polarizing effect on US society, marking a sharp rise in both far-left and far-right politics. This, combined with an ever-increasing wage gap and a lowered living standard, increases the polarization between the haves (as well as those loyal to them) and the have-nots (as well as those loyal to them). These two forces are in constant contradiction, which will continue to erupt in mass working-class uprisings, movements, and protests. We are going to need a lot more than protesting to see any meaningful gains even in the short term.

The shortcomings, trappings, and limitations of these movements have also resulted in a drastic increase in young militants seeking genuine revolutionary ideas to help guide them out of the capitalist mire. We have witnessed a sharp rise in interest in Marxism, which has been gaining more traction over the last decade than was seen in the two decades before it. Protesting is one of two things: it is either a plea to the oppressor—which in all cases falls on deaf ears—or it is a display of organizational power, of people’s participation, which should be taken as a warning to those who fuck with the people. Protesting is nothing if it is not seen as a starting point for deeper revolutionary education and organizing. We can all get together and say we dislike something for the rest of our short lives, or we can get organized to physically stop the things we do not like—this is the difference between protest and resistance.

The revolutionary organization must always seek to transform protest into resistance. Only organized revolutionaries and ultimately the revolutionary party can break through the limitations of short-lived movements and forge them into a force for drastic and thorough revolutionary change—the creation of a new society. This new society will never peacefully develop of its own accord and requires conscious actors, agents, and partisans of the class struggle, who must emerge from the masses as leaders armed with experience and the science of revolution. With no such party in existence the principal task is building the party—a new revolutionary communist party. Movements on their own ebb and flow and mobilize many only to have participation and enthusiasm dwindle or fall off altogether. If these movements are to transcend their current limitations, revolutionary leadership must be provided, transforming these movements into revolutionary struggles. Such a party would by necessity have to be composed of committed, principled, and highly disciplined revolutionaries.

The new revolutionary communist party would emerge as a vanguard, and as soon as it becomes the vanguard party it will be immediately forced underground by the capitalist class and their armed protectors. There is little sense in creating many small arrogant organizations that refer to themselves as “communist parties” prematurely, with no real chance of becoming the vanguard party, a title earned only through the enthusiastic participation and support of the masses. It is an affront to the people to pretend that any such organization, revolutionary or not, can constitute such a force or live up to the title of vanguard. We see this occurrence, commonplace among the US left, for what it is: treachery, and nothing but dangerous role-playing. If the party is doing its job and fulfilling its task in service to the people then it will immediately be banned and made illegal. Revolution is a criminal act in capitalist society. The fact that these self-proclaimed parties are legal is a disgrace to revolutionary traditions. We discourage following these false prophets into the mire of self-inflated cliques and encourage our supporters to take a modest and serious approach at developing a true communist party.

The party will only be successful when it enjoys the broad support of the masses—when it is in essence the people’s revolutionary party. In order to establish such a party the masses themselves must be revolutionary. This is not the case right now—far from it. The current stage of party-building involves preparing the masses as revolutionaries as well as spreading and increasing the revolutionary initiative among the masses themselves. This cannot be skipped and is only accomplished through mass work. The revolutionary party will emerge through the revolutionary masses to lead their fight against this system, and any shortcut will only result in careerist opportunism that sells out the people and prolongs the ability of self-interested elitists to pose as revolutionaries while neglecting the task at hand.

These so-called revolutionaries in the US communist movement today stand in disunity, for very good reason. They will, on occasion, blame the disunity they have earned for the shortcomings in this struggle. The conditions we face are such that even if all the self-proclaimed communists in this country were to achieve iron unity tomorrow they would still fail to constitute a revolutionary party, and they would still be a small and arrogant clique of poseurs who profess to hold all the answers. It is an error to focus on the incestuous left and their fragile egos. The correct strategy for us is to stop wasting time on the concept of “left unity.” And while we must continue to struggle for unity with all those we can unite with, making all alliances that weaken the enemy and strengthen the revolutionary cause, we would be fools to think that this is exclusively the “left.” We must orient ourselves toward the masses of people instead of toward the small revisionist cliques that already exist. It is through struggling to unite with the people that mass members become communist leaders and carry on our work. This is what we mean by struggling to unite and building the revolutionary masses. With mass support and mass participation, the preexisting left will be won over to our side or die against us, and there are only those two options.

We do not profess to hold all the answers and can only seek to apply our limited experience and understanding to begin trying modestly to answer a few pressing questions we face. In light of the lack of an actually-existing communist party based in the working class and their struggles and the fact that there is no existing effort that we see holding much promise to emerge as such a party, we face a peculiar set of contradictions. The party we seek will not emerge organically or otherwise from just the day-to-day struggle of the masses, and we do not have much time to wait around. If the current amount of work being put toward this effort by the few genuine revolutionaries of this country is not increased drastically, and without much more mass participation, it could take decades or more to establish a party. We lack their tortoise patience. So how should we carry out this task of party-building?

8. The revolutionary collective: Build up the Red Guards!

We have but a modest start and have only just begun to earn a sympathetic ear from comrades in this struggle; however, we do have some advice for our readers. We wholeheartedly encourage our supporters and all individuals with a revolutionary perspective across the country to establish small revolutionary collectives. These collectives, or Red Guards, should be composed of cadres who seek to attain high levels of principle and discipline. They should love the masses as if their own lives depended on it—because they do. These Red Guards organizations can launch or join revolutionary mass organizations and help to guide them, to orient them toward the immediate needs of the people in a given trench of combat. Cadres must accept collective discipline and no longer function as individuals. To do this they must carry out criticism/self-criticism, always being open to improving the quality and quantity of their work. These cadres should apply the most advanced revolutionary concepts to their common work. These concepts should be based on the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the understanding of Maoism as the third and highest stage of Marxism—not just the contemporary name for Marxism but an all-around advancement.

Red Guards should seek to apply the same high level of principles to their personal lives as they do to their political and mass work; there should be no clear distinction between the personal and the political. Cadre should serve as an example of what it means to be a servant of the people and an upright example of a communist life. Collectives should remain autonomous of each other at the current stage; however, by maintaining and establishing supportive relationships between Red Guards collectives, we can all help each other to advance the struggle and better our work.

The most advanced revolutionary leaders will be those who have the most to fight for. This means that major leadership will emerge from oppressed nations and oppressed groups. All Red Guards collectives have to be multinational organizations, with a high level of women’s and non-men’s participation. White members should be considered on the basis of betraying their short-term national interest for their long-term interest as internationalists. Priority should be given to the rectification of past errors of the US communist movement by consciously developing women and non-men comrades as leaders. Women hold up more than half the sky and should constitute at least half of the revolutionary movement, and this should be reflected in leadership.

The role of the white revolutionary is the integration into or return to white working-class communities and neighborhoods to work among the white masses, drawing the white workers away from white nationalism, patriotism, and their end result—fascism. These white comrades must wage tireless and arduous struggles; they must rely on intense agitation and propaganda efforts combined with political education in key trenches of ideological combat.

The formation of Red Guards collectives and the cooperation and communication between them will serve as the basis for future party-building efforts. Relying only on individual members scattered about mass organizations or college campuses is not a winning strategy. These individuals just operating loosely in movements lack the ability to develop as genuine communists on their own. Even when connected to a regional or countrywide pre-party organization or committee, they lack the voting power and influence enjoyed by collectives in the same committee. This has resulted in the rise of independent kingdoms or cliques that have derailed and set back the party-building efforts and allowed undue power to bad leadership. By allowing members of such a committee to function as lone members in a given locality, lacking the benefit of criticism/self-criticism practiced with local comrades, they lose all ability to line struggle with the larger groups elsewhere, cannot transform or correct their own errors, and more importantly cannot challenge or defeat the errors of the committee as a whole. This bad strategy produces both rightist and ultra-“leftist” errors and deviations. It should be defeated in form as the format for revisionism and understood as a manifestation of self-interested cliques. This was one of the major contradictions faced by the former Liaison Committee for a New Communist Party, which led up to their weak position and allowed genuine revolutionaries to topple them.

9. Organization principles

All Red Guards collectives must serve the people. Without mass work there can be no right to refer to oneself as a communist, let alone a Red Guard. Mass work puts the cadres among the people and allows them to develop and be kept on track by the conscious application of the method summed up by “from the masses, to the masses.” Without being engaged in struggles among the people in service to the people, the organization becomes detached and stagnant—or worse, turns into its opposite.

This requires first linking up with the masses where the masses are at, both physically and ideologically. For revolutionaries to accomplish this first step, they must focus on both the immediate and long-term interests of the people, addressing to the needs of the people created by the violent inefficiencies of capitalism. Anywhere the system has neglected the people there should be placed a revolutionary nurturing of the people.

The revolutionary organization is responsible for the creation of structures within the community that can establish a sort of dual power within the life of the community. This is most often done in the form of material support—providing the basic goods and service denied to the people by the system, free of charge. This also includes continued political education that cannot be neglected or postponed. Political education and material support are two parts of a whole; one without the other becomes empty and useless. When the two are merged they form what we call Serve the People (STP) programs, which will be discussed in another section in more detail.

Through fighting alongside the people for better conditions, in the interest of their ability to participate as active agents in changing the world, we must continually help advance the masses’ theoretical understanding. This is accomplished by sharpening the contradictions between the people and their enemies. This also requires resolving the non-antagonistic contradictions that emerge between the people themselves or between the people and the revolutionary organization. This is the process of struggle that allows unity to be won. Through this increasing unity, the cadre organization should consciously advance the mass struggles to higher levels, and in the process they must discover and train revolutionaries from the masses into communist revolutionaries, replacing lost or corrupted cadres within the collective. With increased quality and quantity, the collective becomes stronger and more capable of advancing the masses.

All Red Guards collectives have to be guided by Maoism, which is never to be understood as an unchanging doctrine, dogma, or blueprint that must be followed to the letter in all cases. Maoism must be understood as a guideline to our work, as a living, developing, and growing science. This developing body of thought proven and tested in the class struggle can never at any point be misunderstood as completed or finalized. It is necessary to apply the universal truths contained in Maoism to the specific conditions collectives face in any given trench of combat. This is the role of a guiding ideology and its creative application.

Red Guards collectives should be composed of relatively small numbers of disciplined and advanced revolutionaries, at all times subordinating their personal interests to that of the collective. All members should be enthusiastic in their work and capable of carrying out difficult tasks and decisions without gripe. Smaller collectives with a minimum of three to six advanced members are desirable. It is better for the new collectives to be small and highly dedicated, because it is more dangerous to the collective and to the movement to have large groups of undisciplined members who are lazy, unprincipled, or prone to compromising security.

Each revolutionary Red Guards collective should be committed to study and analysis. They should be engaged in continuous study of Maoism and the history of the class struggle, the study of both theory and practice. These studies should also focus on the history and experience of the working class of their city or specific trench of combat. The focus of this study should be in learning how to apply the universal concepts to the specific conditions the collective faces. The collective must be able to analyze conditions: the conditions of the masses, their level of consciousness and resistance, and the influence of other classes and the whole of the class struggle in various locations. Study should be taken on collectively and not left to the discretion or initiative of individual members. Study should be carried out according to the needs of the collective as a whole and the focus kept on making lessons accessible to average people from our class who have not received the best educations from the enemy system.

Each Red Guards collective should seek to put their theory into practice, with the understanding that our practice is guided by revolutionary theory and that it is our practice that informs our theory and allows it to be corrected and developed. The collective should formulate tactics for engaging in daily struggles. A strategy must be developed to place all of these daily struggles in an overall revolutionary context. Every activity should serve and be oriented toward the revolutionary interest and participation of the masses. It is only through the combining of our intellectual activity with physical action that we can make the masses into revolutionary masses. The collective should never function only as a book club or think tank; each member must be engaged with practical action.

Every Red Guards collective should remain in close communication with each other and struggle to support each other where possible. The collectives should exchange information on a regular basis and share experience in the form of summations. Every revolutionary collective must summarize their work to the benefit of the revolutionary movement as a whole. The summations should be honest and prepared in a plain and simple language accessible to the masses. Regular discussions should take place between collectives or their representative leaders. These discussions should be focused on line struggle and a desire for principled unity. All collectives must be genuinely seeking criticism of their work from comrades in other collectives and be willing to own, self-criticize on, and struggle to correct their errors and mistakes. Wherever it is possible collectives should seek joint political activity by region. All collectives must work together, seeking to implement democratic centralism. The collectives must assist each other in developing correct political lines and stick to this principle instead of splitting over issues that can be corrected.

It should be the task of every Red Guards collective to remain staunch anti-revisionists and always and everywhere challenge capitalist ideology that presents itself as Marxist. Collectives should be unafraid to challenge revisionism, especially when it emerges in Maoist ranks, understanding that Maoism is not exempt from turning into revisionism. It must be understood that avoiding revisionism requires not only having a correct line but also carrying out the correct line correctly.

Establishing democratic centralism is the goal, and it should define our intended structural relations between collectives. To do this correctly every comrade should befriend the masses and be able to integrate into mass movements and spaces frequented by workers. All cadres should be able to work in harmony with others outside of the collective. They should be consciously and from the start combating all manifestations of individualism, inflated egos, and cliquishness. By putting the collective first without neglecting our friends in the movement and among the masses, we can then implement democratic centralism within each collective as a step toward all collectives adhering to democratic centralism. We must start with the understanding that any comrade who has made mistakes should be persuaded in order to help them change, instead of coerced. Comrades should be given the chance to start fresh rather than be excluded unless they are incorrigible, in which case they cease to remain comrades.

Democracy should correlate with centralism as two opposites within a whole. Due emphases must be given to both aspects so that things do not become imbalanced and give rise to deviations. The individual must be subordinate to the organization, the minority subordinate to the majority, the whole organization subordinate to leadership. Orders should be obeyed and tasks carried out. Nothing should be taken from the masses. All that we use or rely on should be paid for fairly. Materials and funds raised should be turned in promptly. Cadres should be expected to be polite, to pay for everything they use, return everything borrowed, fix or pay for anything damaged that belongs to the people, refrain from pointless quarrels and nonrevolutionary violence, never take liberties with the affections of others, and not poorly treat even our opponents. Under this method of organization, comrades should enjoy extensive democracy and at the same time be subject to strict discipline. Without democracy we fall into acting as ruled subjects or bosses—becoming either know-nothings who need constant direction and to have their hands held on even the smallest task or know-it-alls who think they have the right to mistreat comrades—and without discipline we slip into a failed group of lazy, ineffective revolutionary poseurs and false prophets.

We invite you to struggle alongside us as we commit to growing among the people and building the party that will emerge to take power in this country. We invite all who seek to participate in revolution to engage with us on this project so that by working with you we can better our own work. It is only through such struggles that we have a chance at anything other than death and slavery.

Part 2. Defend Maoism, uphold the banner of revolution

Introduction

Present-day capitalism-imperialism, like the working class and the monopoly class, is also divided. Since the world is carved up between capitalist powers and all capitalists must compete for resources and cheap labor, it follows that imperialism itself will have a dual character and that rival imperialists will do geopolitical battle for the spoils of the oppressed nations. There is US-European imperialism on one end, and on the contending end there is Chinese and Russian imperialism, with US imperialism being the primary threat to the world today as China and Russia bloc up to form a serious contender. It is inevitable that these imperialist powers come into conflict with each other while collaborating at other times, from propping up puppet leaders, as US imperialism does the world over, to backing up compradors like the Assad regime the way Russian imperialism has done. No matter the imperialist force, when imperialists wage wars and proxy wars it is the people of the oppressed nations who lose the most, making the principal contradiction in the world today that between the oppressed nations and imperialism.

The first victims abroad of US imperialism were black people who were kidnapped from Africa and forced to work as slaves in the interest of maintaining and building the settler-colonial project of the US. In order for imperialism to be defeated the black nation achieve liberation. The national liberation struggle of black people constitutes a threat of the greatest magnitude not only to US imperialism but also to the whole settler-colonial project. Additionally, since most black people are also working-class, they constitute an advanced component of the working-class struggle as a whole. Since the black nation embodies both sets of contradictions, black resistance is the fight against both internal and external imperialism, sharing common struggles with peoples of nations living under the jackboot of imperialism. Black power is anti-imperialism!

Without a vanguard party there will be no revolution. At this present historical moment there is no true communist party. Small collectives, “communes,” and workers alone are not able to organize the wholesale overthrow of the state and the advanced capitalist-imperialist system that it maintains. Human history has not seen the smashing of the state without such a party at the forefront; it is up to us all to take the project of party-building seriously.

Without a correct and tested guiding ideology there will be no party. Marxism lived on through Leninism and into Maoism—the guiding ideology of the world revolutionary movement today is MLM. MLM is both a continuation of and a rupture with Marxism-Leninism (ML) of the forgone era. It is the living science developed through class struggle that alone can defeat the advanced modern imperialist enemy. All revolutionary communists who seek to organize for power should study and adopt MLM instead of clinging to nostalgia for a past that has degenerated into dogma in the present. Our party must be a revolutionary Maoist communist party.

Revisionism is the enemy. It is capitalist ideology that masks itself as communist ideology. It is capitalist practice calling itself communist practice. It is a false red flag going to battle against the people’s red flag. Revisionism comes in many variants but ultimately it is capitalists pretending that they are communists. These dogs have done more for dealing death blows than the external capitalists ever could have. It is internal threats that are more dangerous than external ones. Revisionism is an internal threat to our movement and must be combated non-stop. As long as classes exist they will contend for power, and as long as class struggle exists revisionists will exist and we must fight them. Within a communist party two lines will emerge. One will inevitably represent a bourgeois line and the other a proletarian line—one a revisionist line, the other a communist line.

The vile revisionists in power have degraded and destroyed every socialist project to date. As China became one of the best business partners of US imperialism after capitalist restoration starting in 1976, they have managed through sweatshop state capitalism to develop into a contending imperialist power. The revisionists and social-imperialists of the former Soviet Union destroyed the first socialist state in history by 1956 and over time dropped all pretense of “socialism” and dissolved altogether in 1991.

These changes have given the capitalist powers of the West a false sense of ease. The western capitalist proclaims the end of history, the final triumph over “communism.” It was not communists nor socialism that crumbled with the decrepit vile beast that was the former Soviet Union—it was revisionism that just took off its mask and swapped bureaucratic capitalist-class representatives in the “Communist” Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) for more honest scoundrels who no longer (in most cases) pretend to be socialists. This renders the capitalist cheers and jeers false and hollow and makes their end-of-history myth nothing but self-deception. Capitalism never beat communism. The capitalists who arose within the communist parties in both cases helped to restore capitalism. That is not due either to the great strength of capitalism nor is it due to some flaw in communism, which as a mode of production has never existed. The despicable fate of revisionism is not the fault of genuine revolutionary communists.

1. The revisionists

There are no socialist states existing in the world today. All states proclaiming themselves to be socialist are in reality capitalist states. From welfare states on life support like Cuba, to isolated militarist states like the DPRK (North Korea), to imperialist monsters like China; any claim to actually-existing socialism is just narrow-minded apologism for capitalism that wears a mask and flies a red flag. Mao (when referring to arch-revisionist bastard Deng Xiaoping) said that Deng could not tell the difference between Marxism and imperialism. The same can be said for every supporter of the myth of “actually-existing socialism.”

Although the first revisionism to arise in history was all about abandoning the armed struggle and focusing on participating in electoral “democracy” as a means of making “revolution,” revisionism did not stop there; it morphed over time into the revisionism of today, which we call modern revisionism. There are revisionists in power in the above-mentioned state-capitalist countries and there are also revisionists in the waiting who hope to sell out the revolutionary movement as soon as they get the chance. The revisionists in the US communist movement come in a few main types. There are those who simply have not developed a firm proletarian theoretical base and genuinely have not developed enough to have a deeper understanding of these questions—comrades who can be reached and must be patiently corrected. The second type is the committed, diehard revisionists, who either exist as active enemies or lie in wait to do so. This type will not be convinced. They, like their master Deng, are dyed in the wool. They are the enemy, and we can make no mistake on this question. While both of these types pose a danger by the propagation of lies, one is reachable and the other is not. The diehard revisionists will most likely show themselves by working against revolutionary communist organizers and persistently propagating revisionism.

Furthermore, revisionism will manifest itself even in the best of revolutionary collectives. It is inevitable that self-interest, right- and “left”-opportunism, and liberalisms in general will crop up in the organization. These must be continuously worked out of, and struggle must take place.

Mechanical materialists cannot comprehend the Marxist method of dialectical materialism, and to them one thing rigidly means another every time with no possible alternative. These people see anything that opposes US imperialism as progressive, good, or even socialist. While the opposition to US imperialism is good and correct and any oppressed nation should be defended against the threat of imperialism in general, a false “anti-imperialist” stance is taken in the form of mechanical materialist support for and denial of other imperialisms. You cannot be an anti-imperialist and at the same time be a running dog for Russian or Chinese imperialism. The mechanical materialist in their narrow pig thinking denounces or ignores communist struggles while extending their support to anti-communist criminals like the leaders of Iran, who tortured, imprisoned, exiled, and murdered that nation’s communists—communists who fought tirelessly against the shah. If they are intent on carrying out their line of thinking to its practical conclusion, these types of “comrades” are only a liability. Mechanical thinking results in an elitist regard for the masses as ignorant and results in a lack of any ability to organize a mass base among the people.

There is of course also no shortage of liberals who will call themselves “communists,” who are different from comrades who just make the occasional liberal error. These types of revisionists usually cowardly side outright with US imperialism. These liberals turn squeamish at the very thought of revolution and go on blissfully ignoring the armed struggles of the oppressed nations. Their solidarity is contingent on one’s domestic, servile, and toothless docility. They insist we tail the masses, stifling their energy and condemning their mass initiative. They demand that revolutionaries “wait for the right conditions” and use this as an excuse to do nothing but run doomed candidates in bourgeois elections. These types are hopeless and have already been trashed by history.

For holding these positions we will no doubt receive allegations from the mechanical materialists that we are engaging in “Trotskyism,” while in reality the majority of US Trotskyite organizations pander to the same set of politics and have their own mechanical materialists defending Russian and Chinese imperialism, from the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) to the crypto-fascist Workers World Party (WWP). Lots of Trots agree with the dogmatic-revisionist Marxist-Leninists on both support for alternative-imperialism and “actually-existing socialism,” so we recommend they instead examine the positions that have found them in the largest Trotskyite camp.

The revisionist movement also accepts and contains former Maoists, who pretend to have thought their way past the class struggle. This results in everything from Third-Worldist delusions to Avakianist New Synthesis drivel. These types of revisionists think they represent an ideology that has outmoded MLM despite having never proved a basis for their theories by implementing them in practical armed struggle. Maoism constitutes a third and higher stage of Marxism because it has been proven true in the battlefields of world socialist revolution. Correct ideas do not come from the mind of sellouts tucked away on Ivy League campuses (where the theory calling itself Third-Worldism originates), nor do they come from the minds of “great geniuses.” These ideas will never be capable of leading a revolutionary movement here or elsewhere. They are stillborn ideas that can only mislead and divide.

The US MLM movement has not managed to unite in any real sense, and so unity is an ongoing process. We identify this process as a two-line struggle between left and right, in which correct lines will emerge and unity will become possible. For this to happen all MLM organizations must overcome their rightist thinking and bad practices that prevent unity from occurring. Some “Maoists” still narrowly see Maoism as just the development of Marxism-Leninism, or worse yet just the contemporary name for ML. This is a rightist way of thinking that corrupts the best aspects of Maoist ideology into nothing but a name. We hold that it is the rupture with ML that constitutes the greatest accomplishments of Maoism and that it is principally Maoism that guides us on the revolutionary path. We hold that the lessons of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution must be upheld at every moment and at all levels of struggle, and that all who can rightly call themselves communists lead principled revolutionary lives and always seek to combat bourgeois interpersonal relationships; that there is no clear demarcating line between cadres’ personal lives, their mass work, and their political work; that one does not clock out from being a Maoist and must embody Maoist principles at all times. We hold that bad gender practice is not acceptable for Maoists and that rectifying this should be given the utmost priority, without delay, excuses, or liberalism. At some point even the best revolutionaries are susceptible to death from sugarcoated bullets, and we warn that this death can strike in our infancy. Worse yet is that these sugarcoated bullets are fired daily, so we advise that the only defense against them is deep and thoroughgoing self-criticism. A large part of the Maoist movement in the US has yet to adopt correct practice in the way of self-criticism. Unity is always conditional and it depends on willingness to accept criticism, make self-criticisms, and openly accept and welcome two-line struggle.

2. Our greatest teachers

Karl Marx first developed the scientific approach to revolution. This is a great historical accomplishment that has provided us with a philosophy that is both true and completely partisan in service of our class interests. Marxist thought served as a radical rupture with all conventional thinking in the fields of political economy, philosophy, and class struggle. Marxism is also a science because it serves the march of history; the aims of our class are in accord with the evolution of human society, objective of human beings’ will.

Friedrich Engels supported Marx both with theoretical contributions and directly with material support. He enriched the scientific approach of Marxism and helped it develop. He taught Marxism tirelessly with true commitment and fought physically for its concepts in the progressive bourgeois revolutions of the period. Without Engels there would be no Marxism.

V. I. Lenin contributed so vastly to the whole body of Marxism that his teachings constituted a new and higher stage—the second stage. Lenin led the first struggle against revisionism and understood and theorized the development of capitalism to its highest and final stage: imperialism. He proved that the world was divided among a handful of imperialist powers that subjugate and plunder the rest of the world. Lenin advanced the concept of capturing power by developing the vanguard party, which made proletarian revolution possible via the party of a new type. Most crucial of all Lenin’s contributions (which are far too many to list) is that he put Marxist theory into practice and led the first victorious working-class revolution. Seizing and consolidating power brought the class struggle to a whole new level, furthering the communist revolution throughout the world through the formation of the Third International, or the communist international.

J. V. Stalin defended the proletarian revolution led by Lenin in a fight against revisionists from within as well as against imperialist invaders. Stalin correctly synthesized Marxism into Marxism-Leninism, which was the guiding ideology of its time on the forefront of world socialist revolution. Stalin led the construction of the first socialist state with no preexisting historical examples. He carried out the ending of the New Economic Program, which was state capitalism, and industrialized the country. Most important among Stalin’s many contributions was his leadership in the defeat of German fascism and the triumph over Nazism. By uniting the world revolutionary movement under the guidance of ML, Stalin successfully led socialism through its darkest hour. Stalin made many mistakes along the way, which were criticized and corrected by Mao Zedong. There are those who call us “Stalinists,” and we reject this term on the basis that Stalin did not develop the overall science of Marxism to a new and higher stage. However, Stalin provided many crucial theoretical insights, such as on the national and colonial questions and what constitutes a nation. In practice Stalin faithfully served his class and protected and defended Lenin both ideologically and physically during Lenin’s lifetime. Stalin carried on Lenin’s great work after his death. Without Stalin there would be no Leninism. While we too must be critical of Stalin’s major errors in leadership we must never denounce his contributions. To do so would be to turn our backs on the revolutionary cause. We instead take the allegations of “Stalinism” as a compliment, for it is Stalin who serves as the bridge between Lenin and Mao.

Mao Zedong, like Lenin, developed the whole body of Marxist thought—this time to the third and highest stage. Mao’s contribution to Marxist philosophy was understanding and theorizing the law of contradiction as the fundamental universal law—that all unity is conditional and temporary and that the struggle of opposites is universal and absolute. This developed the understanding of dialectical materialism to a new level. Masterfully applying dialectical materialism and delivering Marxist philosophy to the masses of people. Mao correctly taught that “political power grows from the barrel of a gun,” which holds revolutionary violence as principal over any illusions of peaceful transition to socialism, stating that armed struggle is the only road to revolution.

Mao comprehensively developed guerrilla warfare into the theory of protracted people’s war (PPW). This is the military science of the proletariat. Mao taught and proved that it is people and not weapons that are primary; that with the support and will of the people, a poorly armed people’s army can conquer superior military forces; that victory comes from unleashing and relying on the vast majority of people; that the people’s army must maintain a high level of theoretical understanding and be politicized servants of the people, struggling and working alongside them. Mao taught that this is possible through conquering base areas that serve as a precursor to socialist society, and that these base areas develop a revolutionary culture to further the goal of class warfare. Mao taught that the party should command the gun and that the gun should never be allowed to command the party, placing the party as the vehicle capable of guiding and leading the revolutionary war. The central task of the revolution is the seizure of power by means of revolutionary violence.

Mao solved the questions Marxism had previously been unable to. He successfully led the revolution in a country dominated by imperialism by mobilizing the peasantry, under the leadership of the proletariat with the support of both the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, establishing New Democracy and answering the question of how to develop socialism in semi-feudal nations.

Mao constantly maintained the centrality of the masses in human history, teaching that matter can be transformed into consciousness and consciousness into matter. It was this understanding that led to Mao’s greatest contribution of all: how to combat capitalist restoration arising within the communist party itself. Mao launched and led the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), which is the continuation of socialist revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The GPCR was, and is still to this day, the highest point in human history, where the workers themselves had the most power through targeting revisionists in the state and strengthening the class character of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Mao unleashed the masses of people to steer the socialist revolution in a march toward communism. The GPCR combated the old bourgeois ideology that still persisted in socialist society while also strengthening and developing the communist aspects of the economic base.

Mao understood socialism as the lowest stage of communism, where the old society gives way to the new. Socialism is a transitional period under the dictatorship of the proletariat, where the class struggle intensifies and becomes more acute. Through the suppression of the bourgeoisie and all bourgeois ideology, focusing on the relations of production over the productive forces, Mao taught that socialist progress can be charted and that it is a winding road with twists, turns, and setbacks but that we must march ever forward. This advanced the realm of Marxist political economy by understanding and developing the political economy of socialism, identifying and targeting the areas where capitalist relationships emerge and give birth to the new capitalist class within the communist party itself. The contributions of Mao could fill volumes, standing far above any other.

Abimael Guzman, otherwise known as Chairman Gonzalo, was the leader of the Communist Party of Peru as well as the leader of the Peruvian PPW. It was Chairman Gonzalo who first synthesized Maoism into the third and higher stage. During the arduous struggle in Peru, Gonzalo proved the universality of Maoism in practice and developed MLM from the old understanding of ML–Mao Zedong Thought. This was a major contribution to the world revolutionary situation, of which the PCP was the guiding light. The Peruvian PPW was launched at a time when socialism was on the decline and there were no existing socialist states to offer patronage or support. The PPW was also launched in an “open democracy,” breaking fully with the revisionist lie that armed struggle cannot occur when the people have voting rights. It was in this tireless struggle against both revisionism and imperialism that Maoism grew into its full being in the mountains of Peru. This is our Maoism, and it would not be possible without the teachings and leadership of Chairman Gonzalo.

Of these six great teachers only three heads stand above all, offering us the theoretical basis of our revolutionary ideology: Marx, Lenin, and Mao. Human history is made by many, and it was through the correct understanding and study of the many that Marx, Lenin, and Mao were able to produce the weapon of ideology that is the invincible science of revolution—Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

3. Owning our mistakes and summing up our successes

The class struggle continues and the communist movement offers it the most scientific guidance to this day. As with any scientific development there will be failed experiments. These failures, although inevitable, are not objective failures that mean that “communism has failed.” On the contrary communism has been a success in pushing the class struggle forward to its final conclusion. In order for the science of revolution not to degrade into a historical society or a stale dogma it must constantly criticize itself. Marxism teaches that we must be critics of all things in existence, that nothing is beyond criticism and hence nothing is “perfect.” It is precisely the reiterative process of criticism and rectification that allows our ideology to live and to grow. Its utility is only in service to our class in the war against our class enemy. We build then on the basis of our furthest success—our best failed attempts. It is foolish to throw out the good with the bad and to pretend we can dispense with the lessons earned with the blood of our comrades. It is worse to be opportunistic with communist history and distance ourselves from our mistakes to the point where we take credit only for certain bits. If we are communists then we are communists who have made many great accomplishments and many debilitating setbacks that extend far through history beyond our small organizational reach. We must remain Marxists when accounting for the whole nuanced history of the revolutionary movement and the theories that it has produced, applying those theories to our practice and improving both in their relationship to one another. We must oppose both dogmatic anti-Marxist thinking and egotist individualism that pompously proclaims it has outdone Marxism without offering concrete historical proof. We must develop MLM through its application to our specific conditions in the belly of the US imperialist beast.

The running dogs of revisionism who have gone unchecked cannot live up to this principle. They are forced by their existence as servants of capitalism to pander to their master’s narrative and find themselves discredited. One of our errors is the delusion that there can ever exist anything more than temporary, tactical unity with any of them, leading to a failure to sufficiently challenge these crude and destructive cliques.

As mentioned, mechanical materialists (among the left referred to as “tankies”) as well as their Trotskyite counterparts are but two sides of the same coin in the pocket of one capitalist or another. They believe that they appeal to the people by appealing to imperialism. Right-Trots like the Marcyite variety and left-Trots like the Spart variety as well as dogmatic MLs only serve as wreckers or movement parasites that lack the far-sighted faith in the people that would allow them to offer any revolutionary course. They wear the name of “communist” vulgarly and at the expense of real mass work. In the long term they inevitably strike the revolution and remain the faithful dogs of imperialism that they are. Their ideology exists to provide ammunition for the capitalists who need “communist” sources to give their fantasy some credibility.

These false communists cannot sum up their successes and failures let alone the successes and failures of the communist movement. Instead they must cling to their own delusional fantasy that has left them rotting, trapped in a time when their ideology had some function in service of the people; that time has long since passed. All the world over, their time has come; they must step aside or side with the enemy. We must not waste our effort seeking their approval as comrades but must prove our ideology in practice, in which case the best will be won over while the committed running dogs will be put down.

4. Capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union and China

Partly due to Stalin’s errors, the masses did not mobilize to target revisionists, allowing bastards like Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and their crews to slip by. Khrushchev used some of the legitimate errors of Stalin as well as a lot of fabricated fantasy to implement “de-Stalinization,” which was a code word for legitimizing capitalist restoration and capitalist social relationships. This process allowed him to reign as chief capitalist in the communist party and push forward revisionist conceptions such as “peaceful transition” and worse yet “peaceful coexistence,” which all amounted to siding against the workers of both the USSR and the world. He proceeded to purge the party of its revolutionaries and to suppress the revolutionary masses who had struggled so hard for the gains of socialism. By 1956 the project of capitalist restoration was in full swing, and by the time Brezhnev took power he was able to transform revisionism into armed revisionism, by reforming certain aspects of “Stalinism” and combining them with the revisionist project started by Khrushchev, in effect turning the new state capitalism into Soviet social-imperialism (socialism in name, but imperialism in deed). Through this the USSR became the second leading imperialist power and the second greatest threat to the world’s people, following in the footsteps of US imperialism and only coming into conflict with it when there was little other option. The two imperialist powers carved up the world map, leaving the People’s Republic of China and Albania as the two last existing socialist states.

The restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union as well as their role as competing imperialists constituted an irresolvable contradiction between them and genuine revolutionaries in the Communist Party of China (sometimes called the CCP), led by Mao Zedong. This was the catalyst to one of the most important line struggles in socialist history, where the left (the revolutionaries led by Mao) did battle with the right (the revisionists led by Khrushchev) in what became known as the Great Debate and ultimately the Sino-Soviet split. It became apparent to the revolutionaries in the CCP that if not guarded against, the same fate would confront China that overcame the USSR, and capitalism could be restored in China relatively quickly.

This understanding helped to launch the GPCR, which was intense class struggle raging for ten years against the Chinese revisionists as well as the deposed capitalist class. Rightists who placed economic interests over social interests were ousted from power and denounced. Although we cannot cover all the twists and turns of the GPCR in this document, we must discuss it further and encourage our readers to continue researching it on their own. Eventually the second leading capitalist in the CCP, Deng Xiaoping, was able to consolidate his control over rightists and centrists in the party. This constituted a capitalist headquarters within the party, and it established control over the foreign policy and significant influence over the People’s Liberation Army. This capitalist HQ relied on intellectuals, managers, and corrupt officials and party cadres to extend its reach and influence in the country, constituting the social base for capitalist restoration. They went against Mao in deed but still professed allegiance in name. The rightists also fought among themselves, and in spite of holding the same positions, they labeled would-be assassin Lin Biao as an “ultra-leftist” while Lin was in reality a rightist-militarist who like them sought to end the GPCR and focus on production at the expense of the workers. When Lin was defeated, the generals loyal to him had to be removed and Deng and crew took advantage of the situation by placing their men in key military positions.

The left continued to do battle with the right, which was increasing in strength. Shortly after the death of Mao, in spite of being denounced a second time Deng was able to command the loyalty of centrists in the party and facilitate a coup that resulted in the arrest of Mao’s four greatest supporters and leaders of the Shanghai commune, Ching, Chiang, Yao, and Wang, referred to by the capitalist HQ as the “Gang of Four.” This so-called gang was really the revolutionary leadership that represented Mao’s line and sought to continue the revolution to its conclusion. Mao’s wife, Chiang Ching, defiant and on trial for her very life, stated that “making revolution is no crime!” She insisted that she would rather have her head chopped off than give in to revisionism. The overthrow of the revolutionary leadership of the four resulted in the capitalist HQ consolidating power. They repressed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of revolutionary masses and purged the rest of the revolutionaries in the party, fast-tracking capitalist restoration by ending the GPCR and reversing its hard-earned gains.

Among other things Deng ended the barefoot doctors, dissolved the peasant communes, brought back private property, proclaimed that “it is glorious to be rich,” sold products to the masses with the use of sexist advertising, developed even deeper ties with Washington, and erased all talk of revisionism—and while opposing the USSR as a rival, no longer spoke of capitalist restoration. Workers were now encouraged to stop studying revolution and stop learning politics and instead focus only on their “work”—producing products for the capitalists in the party. The state, still owning the means of production, made large cuts to the quality of life and the political life of the masses. The masses were shut out of power altogether and relationships went back to that of boss and worker, with the state above all. Deng became the most vile of revisionists, outstripping Khrushchev and Brezhnev both. Under the arch-revisionist tyranny of Deng, capitalism was restored and the world’s greatest revolution was reversed and defeated.

Capitalist restoration has provided us with invaluable lessons of how to spot revisionists and how to fight them. The GPCR is universal and correct—the revolution must continue under socialism, and the masses must be brought up in their theoretical and political consciousness. Armed with this knowledge, we must be ever vigilant and rely on the most advanced sections of the working class to spot and target revisionists in the party. Furthermore it is the responsibility of all communists to expose and defeat revisionists among their own ranks, no matter what level of development—whether before, during, or after the armed struggle. Those on the capitalist road will remain on the capitalist road unless they are stopped. As Mao taught so well, everything that is reactionary is the same: if you do not hit it, it will not fall.

5. On the universality of PPW

Mao Zedong’s theory of protracted people’s war is universal to all countries of the world. In understanding the concept of PPW, we must understand that Maoism is not a dogma—that all who hold to MLM must be able to correctly and creatively apply the universal to the specific. PPW in an imperialist country will therefore look very different from its application in China, which varies still from its application in Peru. Its three aspects are its protracted nature, the people, and the armed fighting.

PPW is protracted. It may take a lot longer in more feudal countries oppressed by imperialism than it might in the imperialist countries. Regardless, the struggle must be protracted—there is no escaping this, and comrades seeking a quick victory should check their idealism and understand that this enemy will use every measure to prevent such a quick victory. Insurrection in the Leninist sense will not be possible, and waiting for such an event will only decrease the fighting capacity of the people and stifle them by disallowing their mass participation in the overthrow of the capitalist state. Such ideas should be discarded for the present day, while being understood for their relevance to particular bygone historical moments. Furthermore, even if insurrection were possible it would not be desirable: it is through years of fighting in PPW that the masses become even more revolutionized, more experienced in directly participating in the highest expression of class struggle—their consciousness advances considerably through their active role and their ability to fully identify with the party.

Through protracted fighting the enemy weakens, while the people, the people’s army, the party, and the united front all grow and establish greater unity. Through the establishment of base areas, revolutionary culture overturns the existing bourgeois culture and proletarian ideology begins to take the place of bourgeois ideology. In such base areas the revolutionary army is able to work alongside the liberated masses and avoid ever becoming parasitic. In such areas revolution reigns supreme and it is exported from the base area to the rest of the country. This concept is universal, and it does not rely exclusively on “surrounding the city from the countryside,” which is a common misconception. With no mass population located in the countryside, the base areas in the US would look drastically different, whether or not they were rurally located or located in urban areas. It is the existence of the base areas that earn a place in the heart of the people for our revolutionary forces, whom they will shelter and defend. Only this will give a guerrilla group the advantage over the imperialist enemy. Without mass participation, the revolution has already gone deadly wrong and revisionism has already set in. The protracted aspect of PPW is not only universal; it is also crucial because it helps avoid pitfalls and strengthens the revolutionary culture.

In warfare the people are primary, while everything else is secondary. It is not weapons or training or financial support that will ever win a war: it is the people themselves and their morale, enthusiasm, and desire for victory that will be decisive. All of these depend largely on the relationships between the party and the masses. Any revolutionary strategy that confuses the role of the people or suggests that a small group of armed men can just take it upon themselves to make history fundamentally denies the role of the masses in history and betrays the revolutionary cause. The people’s army has to be separate from the party but guided and led by the party. The two cannot be combined out of convenience. The people’s army must be servants of the people and seek not only mass support but also mass participation. It must seek to represent the people and in doing so it must produce women and non-male commanders and officers. All of this should be guided by the communist party. Think of the people’s army as armed social workers attending to every need of the people, beyond just attending to the war—and not social workers in the capitalist sense but in the proletarian and revolutionary sense.

The violent aspect of armed struggle is inevitable in any revolutionary theory. Violence is universal and unavoidable. The people will call for the blood of the class enemy and we shall deliver. Violent fighting is an essential aspect of social change, not just an unfortunate necessity. We reject liberal notions that are dishonest to the people in claiming that we only fight reluctantly. On the contrary, our class must seek power and we are not reluctant in this quest. We know that violence exists in all things, both in nature and society; that violence is part of all development and we do not begrudge the process like cowards but seek to prepare as fighters. Revolutionary violence however should never be equated to reactionary violence. Revolutionary violence is community self-defense on a massive scale—class self-defense—and we should not fear it. We should take great pride in becoming fighters for our class knowing that revolutionary violence will help us develop; that when the enemy attacks we will no longer internalize their violence, and we will instead channel it back at them in a wave of destruction. We understand that through fighting back, the people attain ever greater fighting spirit. Self-defense is self-care. If we are unable to defend ourselves, if we freeze in the moment, we shall—as a movement—suffer from cowardice. Such cowardice plagues the left and has left them underprepared while the right is ever increasing their preparedness. We must rid our ranks of those who see fighting back as a reluctant responsibility and encourage enthusiasm for preparing for the fight and eventually fighting to the finish.

6. PPW in the USA?

The precise application of PPW in the US will be determined by the unique geographic conditions of the US as well as the class forces themselves and the concrete, objective conditions we face as a class. The majority of the population lives in urban areas; however there are broad expanses of wilderness and rural areas as well as a very diverse climate.

The level of activity of the national liberation struggles of the masses of the oppressed nations will be essential in determining a correct line in regard to the launching of PPW. The oppressed nations of Aztlán and New Africa exist (roughly) all along the southern border from coast to coast. This means that these areas, depending on the party and a correct line of orientation as well as on the oppressed nations themselves, will be responsible for guiding the direction of the PPW. These areas should be liberated and function as base areas, established first, with the goal of exporting the revolution to the rest of the US. This makes the area of Texas of particular importance because it is a southern state as well as the easternmost territory of occupied Aztlán. Texas is also under a reactionary state government with “right-to-work” laws. This produces raw class antagonisms and specific sets of contradictions. On one hand the reactionary laws restrict the rights of the workers, creating sharper contradictions, and on the other hand the repressive state laws create a more difficult environment in which to organize aboveground. Communists can be singled out by both the state and their popular fascist representatives.

Texas is also an open-carry state with some of the more relaxed gun laws in all of the US. This means that the forces of the people will be able to capture weapons from the enemy with more ease than in other parts of the country due in part to the sheer abundance of weapons in circulation. Texas also has a vast land area with diverse terrain, some of which the state would have great difficulty penetrating. The cities of the south and southwest house large oppressed-nations populations of urban poor as well as poverty-stricken rural areas, both of which will serve as a social base for the PPW. It is our position right now that any strategy of war would by necessity require the organization of the states that compose Aztlán and New Africa, the region known as the Sun Belt due to the heightened contradictions there.

Any application of PPW to the conditions of the US will absolutely require firm internationalism both between the colonies within the US and through the party gaining ideological support of revolutionary communists in Mexico as well as those in Canada. This internationalism must extend to the world communist movement, and we must always challenge ideas rooted in narrow nationalism or regionalism.

The forces of the people will grow from the most impoverished areas of the Sun Belt. We won’t necessarily “surround the city from the countryside,” but a rural component will be necessary, with rolling urban attacks in a wave-like motion, geared toward economic instability. The slums, ghettos, and border towns will be especially hospitable to the formation of base areas in the form of bio-political dual power as a long-term strategy put into motion as the first phase, long before the fighting and shooting of the PPW starts.

7. Internationalism

Maoist-led people’s wars still rage in several countries with advanced workers’ struggles. Due to the primary contradiction between imperialism and oppressed nations, the oppressed nations have become the storm centers for world revolution—the places and regions where revolution is most likely to take place and most likely to win. The two most advanced armed struggles in the world today are taking place in India, led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), and in the Philippines, led by the Communist Party of the Philippines. These people’s wars must be supported, promoted, and studied by US Maoists. We should be doing all the organizing we can to educate our own working class on the struggles taking place in these countries and seek to build and support strong networks of solidarity.

While these PPWs led by genuine revolutionaries prove in part that Maoism is the best ideology for victory, they do not escape critical analysis.

In the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Democratic Front, and the New People’s Army have been leading a people’s war since 1968. They have gained considerable ground and constitute the most advanced armed struggle in the world. They are gaining and deserve international support, but we must also analyze and be critically aware of their errors. The CPP vacillates ideologically and has in the past opportunistically presented themselves differently to different groups, at one point even seeking support from Soviet social-imperialists until that support proved useless only then to come out and criticize the action. At various points the CPP has denied the existence of Chinese imperialism only to come out against it when China began encroaching on the territory of the Philippines. This ideological inconsistency is likely rooted in their failure to understand Maoism as the third and highest stage of all Marxism, leaving residual ML-revisionism unchecked, seeing MLM as only the term to describe Mao Zedong Thought in the current era. This incomplete application of Maoism gives us great concern for the trajectory of their revolution, and while we are enthusiastic supporters, we fear that this could steer them off course—we believe that they are capable both of seizing state power and of seeking a phony “peace.” In either of those scenarios they could fail to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. We are hopeful that they will break with their errors and offer to give more direction to the world revolution and the world situation.

In India, the CPI (Maoist) stands as the most ideologically advanced communist force on the planet. They control vast sections of the countryside and masterfully apply PPW. One of their major shortcomings is neglecting the LGBTQ struggles that do take place in India and failing to do the necessary theoretical work on the question, work that could offer significant practical guidelines for other revolutionary efforts. There is also a rising concern of the level of politicization of the People’s Liberation Guerilla Army, which has resulted in lumpenproletariat splinter militias that end up turning against the people while still wielding Maoist guns—a failure to keep the party in command of the gun.

These criticisms, however valid, do not indicate that these parties do not possess great revolutionary knowledge that benefits the world revolutionary movement as a whole. They are the shining examples of highly advanced Maoist-led struggles that we have everything to learn from. When Marxist-Leninist and Trotskyite organizations refuse to learn from comrades in the nations oppressed by imperialism they do so at their own peril out of what is most often white supremacist and Eurocentric thinking. The PPWs will grow, and we have good faith that the shortcomings and obstacles will be overcome.

8. On criticism/self-criticism and thought reform

These are perhaps the most misunderstood concepts among US Maoists today, and they are also among the most useful and important assets to our work. They must be understood more fully. Criticism is a gift, no matter the type. We must take all criticism enthusiastically. In fact, we must continuously seek it out. If the criticism is correct, it will improve our work, whether it was made in good faith or bad, and whether it was from comrades or adversaries matters little. We should first take the criticism and then see where it fits—see what is true within it and what we can utilize and learn from it. It is not the role of those being criticized to alone determine the truth in this, but there is instead a collective process to struggle out. Intentions are secondary to the results of one’s actions; we cannot simply think that we “were misunderstood” or that we “meant well.” Intentions, while important, do not detract from consequences outright. Bourgeois moralism teaches that we are all special little examples to be taken individually; communists must break with this thinking, as it cannot serve us or the class we seek to represent. When we receive a criticism we must reflect on it for a long time if need be and then make a sincere effort to see where it can be applied.

Capitalist society makes us selfish and self-interested. This means that our whole upbringing and our ideology results in an inability to take criticism from others. We often feel wronged or singled out when it was our errors that hurt the work or wronged others. We cannot expect every comrade to have overcome this selfishness or self-interest altogether, let alone all at the same level. Criticism is tough to accept sometimes, so we must have a great deal of patience when dealing with those who have difficulty accepting criticism. Inversely, capitalist society teaches us to use criticism to weaken opponents instead of strengthen comrades. We must understand the difference between attacks, repudiation (knee-jerk response that lacks analysis), and criticism. Our goal when taking and making criticisms should be to strengthen each other. We should at the same time fear no criticism and make the best criticism we can of all comrades without exception. Criticism should include suggestions. At the same time we should not expect these suggestions to offer immediate solutions in the form of rectification. Criticism must occur over and over again just as errors in thinking and practice will persist. We cannot expect a quick fix. Criticism and self-criticism are weapons for the revolutionary collective to correctly transform ourselves and our thinking, to integrate theory with practice and make our ideas reflect our concrete reality. It is an indispensable weapon, one we must master for both transformation of ourselves and our work and for the first line of defense against revisionism.

Part 3. Integrate with the masses—being one with the people in order to serve the people

1. Our efforts in mass work

For the past year Red Guards Austin has been engaged in mass work via Serve the People – Austin (STP-A). STP started out as a program initiated and run by RGA. Since then STP has taken on a life of its own as we had intended. The reality of this helped us derive two principles: (1) STP should be run by and for the people; (2) STP should be a non-tendency revolutionary mass organization that is both launched and guided by a Red Guards collective and open to all sections of the people who fall under the category of “our friends.”

STP-A offers the community material aid (in the form of free clothing stores intermittently and free food programs weekly) and revolutionary theory. These service programs operate in working-class neighborhoods that are holdouts in the petty bourgeois–dominated, gentrified city of Austin. These neighborhoods have included or will include the Pleasant Valley neighborhood, the Montopolis neighborhood, and the Rundberg neighborhood. Due to police presence, the rising rents, and urban removal, the masses of these neighborhoods are experiencing a heightened level of daily struggles, resulting in higher levels of class consciousness than we have seen in other neighborhoods that are more diverse in terms of class. The community leaders and most organizers in these neighborhoods, however, tend to hold “middle-class” views, which reflect the views, positions, and interests/ideology of the petty bourgeoisie and labor aristocrats/upper strata of workers. These leaders currently have dominance over community demands and as a result have limited the amount of working-class participation in activist struggles.

In spite of the liberalism that comes with the class interests of these elite home-owners and small business owners, they still fall under the category of “our friends” and must be struggled with in the interest of unity. They must not be handed over the power to lead STP or working-class struggles but won over in support of both. These “middle-class” leaders are primarily of oppressed nations themselves and from families who have lived in the area for generations. Their interests often align with our own, and unlike most workers they have time and money to devote to the community, which has in part helped earn them such social status. The downside is their tendency to push for collaboration with the city, demand reforms of the police, voting reforms, nonviolence, and so on. We must remain vigilant against these things but remember that these people are not our enemy and they stand to side with the revolution as it grows. When dealing with these types of friends we must not budge ideologically but remain friendly and have patience and show forgiveness. STP must seek out the relatively small number of advanced workers and unite with them first, then together with them help train and advance the consciousness of the intermediate workers. These two types will provide committed volunteers and members of STP, who will take positions of leadership within the organization.

What is an advanced worker? The advanced does not always imply the most active elements but specifically refers to the most class conscious of the workers: those who understand that capitalism cannot be reformed or voted out. The most advanced may well find themselves being the most active, but these two concepts often do not align. It is crucial that we break with the misconception that activists constitute the advanced.

The mass organization should not expect the level of commitment nor the discipline that is demanded by the cadre organization. People from the masses should not be expected to be functioning at the capacity of tried and tested communists, nor should they be held to the same principles. STP is a place where struggles can take place to create communists out of the masses. Since our programs have been reproduced by comrades in other cities, we hope to offer some guidance on this matter and help other STPs form under a correct line, avoiding both ultra-“left” and right-opportunist errors. Cadrefication of the mass organizations is a serious error that we have witnessed in the STP as well as student mass organizations.

In order to keep the organization functioning properly it should remain non-tendency, and sectarianism should be stamped out and not tolerated. We should follow the advice of Mao and truly unite with all those who can be united with, in order to best put the people first. These STPs however should remain under the guidance of committed Maoists (in the form of a collective with no fewer than three people), who should constantly earn and win the leadership of the organization, proving their theory in practice, never degenerating into shouting matches or arguing hollow theory. If the Maoists who start STPs in any given area maintain the principles outlined here, then they will surely be invaluable leaders who will fully earn the respect and support of the diverse membership. This is the only way STP will thrive and grow.

Serving the people means first being among the people, experiencing their day-to-day struggles as well as offering guidance through participation in those struggles. Even if the program does not function as it should for a time, the only way to learn is through actually doing. STP work forces the communist to be among the masses, where they belong. One cannot and should not call oneself a communist if one is not engaged in mass work. We should all denounce the ivory tower “communists” of the past and show them for the false prophets that they are. The second point is to emerge as leaders. This emergence must be through the masses and their struggles, with their support. Changes, and taking positions of leadership, must never be arbitrarily asserted from above. Every role communists take must be earned in full and never assumed. Serving the people means combating individualism, boasting, and ego. It means combating all forms of vanity that come from being an “activist.” This is an ongoing effort that must never be neglected.

Serve the People must earn its namesake; this means that the people and their struggles must always be put first, before the interests of any individual or any small section of the people. Favoritism must be avoided and arrogance must be challenged among our ranks. We must be humble servants of the people in all aspects of our work.

2. Replacing cadre with the masses

As time goes on and struggles wax and wane we will see comrades come and go. We will encounter demoralization, defeatism, and/or arrogance and selfish work. These things can manifest in the form of corruption, and all corruption must be rooted out and destroyed. Some communist cadres will give in to the sugarcoated bullets of the capitalist system. Some will take the capitalist road long before they hold any real power. At all stages of struggle we must do away with the lazy and the corrupt. This inevitably means that we will have to replace cadres in the revolutionary organization with the masses themselves as they become trained communists. Revolutionary collectives must be engaged in mass work so that the masses can replace their worst members and the organization can live on in good health. The masses are also essential to the growth of the revolutionary organization and all future party-building efforts.

There are not enough “communists” in this country let alone ones who are trained and experienced, with correct ideas. This means that if we want to build a revolutionary party we must do so through the masses. The lack of Maoists means that we must create Maoists out of the masses, and this cannot be circumvented. We have no interest in the small bunches of people and individuals who continually ignore the people while calling themselves communists; we see them as a stain on the movement and thieves of our ideology. Genuine revolutionary communists must make themselves replaceable in the event of death or incarceration. We must live such lives as to serve as shining examples of decency that the people will wish to follow so that they will step up to take our places when we fall.

3. On cadre organizations and mass organizations

The revolutionary collective should be composed only of ideologically advanced and principled Maoists who have subjugated all their personal interests to the collective without exception. Weak-willed and lazy comrades should be trained out of these errors before becoming cadres. Discipline is an ongoing project; it is never a fixed thing. While a high level of discipline must be demanded of cadres, we must also treat them as comrades who are entitled to their mistakes and errors, which should be seen as opportunities to correct, improve, and rectify through two-line struggle, criticism, and self-criticism. Cadres in the revolutionary organizations must study diligently in a collective effort to better their level of theory and the application of that theory. They must be vetted and tested, given hard tasks and be accepting of continued hard living and sacrifice. They must be expected to not only be servants of the people but also be willing to protect the people and put themselves in harm’s way or even die if need be. Cadres mustn’t engage in anti-social activity. They must not pursue self-destructive paths or engage in dysfunctional social relationships. Cadres should not be drug users or heavy drinkers, as it sets a bad example among the people and disgraces the revolution we hope to build. Cadres should not steal or lie, unless in matters of expropriation or in terms of security against the enemy. Cadres should never engage in loose talk, shit talk, bad-mouthing, gossip, or oppressive and abusive language, in order to avoid alienating people. Everything that comes out of the mouth of cadres must seek to unite the masses of the people and never to divide them. Cadres should avoid bitterness and spite and all other manifestations of bourgeois ideology and reaction. No cadres are expected to be perfect revolutionaries. Perfect revolutionaries do not exist and never will exist; however, all cadres must constantly try to improve their thinking, habits, and practice in the interest of building the party and serving the people.

Communist cadres should be engaged in both mass work and cadre work and should understand how one relates to the other dialectically. The role of the cadres is to provide guidance to the people through the mass organizations and STPs. Being a cadre should never put one above the people. We draw such a distinction because so much more is expected of one who considers oneself a communist revolutionary. While much more could be said on the topic and will be in the future, at this point we wish only to lay out a few basic points in order to shine some light on how STPs should function.

The mass organization and mass members, unlike cadres, are not expected to be disciplined, principled, ideologically advanced communists. The masses are diverse, with many different ideas and experiences that will always manifest in contradictions among the masses. STPs must take into account these contradictions and, while avoiding handling them liberally, must seek to solve them in good faith. This requires having patience with people, understanding that the world they and we grew up in is often messy and absurd. Capitalist society teaches people from birth to death to be individualistic and self-serving, to denounce, use, and abuse other people. We cannot expect mass members to engage in self-criticism the way communists do. We cannot expect them to be able to put everything they know aside and take criticism the way communists should. At the same time, we must never at any point underestimate the people or their ability to show better principles than the communists. We have found that the masses are far more revolutionary than most of the left—that they have better discipline and tend to be more reliable than the majority of student activists we encounter.

The language used by the people is part of their experience and culture, as well as a product of their environments. This means that STP should at all times avoid the trap of language policing that is common among petty-bourgeois academics, identity-reductionists, and postmodernists. While we do not allow our cadre to use oppressive language, we will not shame the people for speaking in their way. We should not tolerate activists shaming or perpetually correcting the masses for saying words they do not personally approve of. In such cases, language must be seen as secondary and never be seen as the principal aspect to struggle out. We have found that those who always say the right things in the right way often use their mastery of language to mask their bad and abusive practice. By the same token, many workers who use what activists and liberal arts majors call “problematic language” often are much more decent in practice than their counterparts on campus. We have no interest in policing what the people should say, and we seek to unite with them and through that process change them by advancing their level of class understanding.

Mass membership must be open and meetings must be public, with established principles and points of unity, which must be set to unite the broadest sections of the people in participation in STP. STP must not be run in the way a revolutionary cadre organization is. We have seen when others have started STP organizations that they have been idealistic on this topic and expect the masses to meet them where they are at instead of trying to meet the masses. This is arrogant and basically says, “follow us, we have the answers.” Finding the masses “too problematic” is a vulgar hatred of the people that completely goes against Maoism, and these types must be criticized. People are very damaged in our class for a lot of real and valid reasons. To expect them to immediately function as communist cadres is an affront to what it means to serve the people.

Comrades who have no revolutionary collective but hope to establish one though the formation of STP orgs should be discouraged and warned of the perils of proceeding without revolutionary leadership. They should instead work from the bottom up to prepare their forces before embarking on the project. We strongly encourage the formation of small (minimum three-member) revolutionary collectives who can use democratic centralism prior to the formation of STPs instead of as a result. This is important in order to be realistic and keep the STP program on the revolutionary road. While we understand the eagerness to fight, that fight must be waged correctly, and sometimes this means patient, slow, and steady work.

4. Trenches of combat, areas of struggle, and serving the people creatively

Within any given city there are various sites or areas where class struggle takes place in a specific form, which differ from other locations around the city. Within those given areas of struggle we must establish trenches of combat, where the revolutionary organization wages specific forms of organizing resistance, either STPs or other work. These trenches can be taken up in areas like prisons, community colleges, ghettos, barrios, and other places with a particular set of sharp contradictions. Mass work should not be all over the place with no core strategy at the helm. We must first determine the area of struggle and commit to it, entrenching ourselves for ideological and, eventually, physical combat.

We should not move about from place to place or abandon the people; at the same time we must not superficially or superstitiously cling to any given site. Social investigation must take place before setting up STP programs. Teams must investigate the given conditions of a neighborhood or area of struggle by going there and speaking to the masses, finding out what ideas they have, what needs are not met, what they are worried about, and so on. This must not be done in the form of a cold and sterile survey but must be done personally and compassionately. The investigation team should also directly observe the class conditions, the classes at play, and the level of struggle they face. The investigation team should observe the living standards among the masses, their access to infrastructure, and general signs of poverty. The police presence must also be observed as well as the effect of gentrification on the neighborhood. Several neighborhoods should be investigated and compared, and sites of struggle within them should be determined based on a process of collective line struggle and the development of a strategy. It is important to not just gather the ideas that communists want to hear to support whatever thing it is they already want to do. Rather, all ideas must be gathered, whether backward or advanced, and a general class analysis must be made in order to settle on a given area or particular struggle.

Once the area is settled on, it is the ideas gathered from the people that should be the determining factor in what type of programs are offered. Anything else but providing solutions based on the ideas of the masses themselves abandons the mass line. Just because you want to start an STP doesn’t mean your ideas are correct, so erase any notions of what it is you want to do first and start with the people you intend to serve. This move will pay off big in terms of support, and there can be no cutting corners here either.

Our own experiences have revealed one particular error in practicing the mass line that we think it is important to describe and warn against. When carrying out the first step of the mass line, we are not simply taking data from the masses, learning their ages, occupations, number of children, and other demographic info. Nor are we simply learning their condition—that they were recently laid off, that they are being denied social services, that they have felony records. While these facts are not bad to record, they are not yet enough to begin the mass line. In order to begin practicing the mass line, what we must hear from the masses are their ideas: we want to know what they believe is the root problem beneath all the difficulties they are confronted by; we want their worldview; and even more important, we want to know what they believe can and should be done about the problems they are facing. Answers to this sort of question will give us the raw material to truly proceed in our work from the ideas of the masses.

It should be noted that this is far from sufficient in giving full information about the concrete experience of practicing the mass line in running an STP organization. Much more information about this concrete practice will be described in further summations specifically from STP-A.

The program in any given area must be creative and sustainable; we learned from our errors that infrequency doesn’t allow you to really consistently and meaningfully participate in the life of the community, and we have learned a great deal from Serve the People – Los Angeles (STP-LA) on this matter. After the ideas are gathered from the masses they must undergo the rest of the mass line process. The result could be any number of programs aimed at the immediate concerns of the masses. These programs could involve a bus-to-prison program, a food program, a grocery program, a literacy program, a community self-defense program, a cop watch program, a car service program, and so on. We must not limit ourselves to the activity of other STPs but actually address the ideas of the people in the form of real answers to problems and revolutionary guidance.

Programs must also consider the ability of the committed members to execute them correctly. It is better to do a small program modestly and well than it is to try and solve every issue all at once and end up appearing to the people to be all over the place and inefficient. Be realistic and aware of your own abilities, neither subjectivist nor overconfident—rely on the people.

Once the area of struggle and type of program are determined, preparations should commence to establish a trench of combat. All members should learn the history of the area and the history of the people’s struggles there. Preferably a few members should be from there or have pre-existing relationships to people who are. If not, they should approach with caution and modesty at all times. Once a trench of combat is established, we should do everything in our power to hold onto it as long as it fits with our overall strategy and conditions are right. STP programs are usually protracted and play out over a very long period before any material results can be seen. It was through painstaking work that our comrades in LA have been able to amp up the fight against gentrification.

STPs must consider presentation when integrating into an area of struggle. We should do our best to make the community comfortable with how we appear to them. We should appear open and inviting. This often means submitting our own personal modes of expression to better integrate. This sometimes means looking like the workers of that given community, without mocking or costume. To do this cadre should seek full integration, socialize where the masses do, listen to the types of music the masses do, and always be accepting of the local customs and culture, seeking to handle inevitable contradictions that arise. Do not enter with preconceived notions of mass expression but learn from the people there. Most communists might have some difficulty with this but should be patient with themselves and truly willing to learn from the people. We should be careful to do business only with local, community-supported establishments and avoid doing business with gentrification establishments who do not fit culturally or economically in the site of struggle; these should instead be aggressively pressured for donations or opposed with the threat of community boycotts.

When actively serving the people, volunteers must be conscious of their role and execute the task to the best of their ability. Our programs offer us a platform for communication. They offer us the opportunity to hear the people out and collect the raw material for the mass line. Volunteers distributing goods should not argue with the masses of a given area but should apply the method of first learning from the people then offering them guidance. All ideas the people have should be remembered and then reported to a designated person who will record them, and then discussed at meetings to later continually determine and guide the programs.

Conditions and ideas of the people are subject to subtle change and we must always adapt to given conditions and be informed by given ideas. What might work at first may hit road blocks that can be overcome, or instead the program may need to be changed. If a program continues to fail it should be replaced with other programs that work. We should be flexible and never dogmatic or mechanical in our work.

5. Limitations of liberal arts thinking

We are not special snowflakes who have stumbled upon correct ideas. Correct lines are established only through struggle and the application of the mass line method of leadership: from the masses, to the masses. No matter how well one has been educated, one is still prone to error. In fact, education in the capitalist university reproduces bourgeois ideology, and therefore most university students will be corrupted with incorrect ideas stemming from their anti-masses education. These educated types will no doubt think they know best or have some great secrets denied to the people. This garbage thinking should be eradicated. No amount of university education can prepare one as a servant of the people; it is only through practice that our goals can be met.

The masses themselves, who have far more to fight for, make better communists than the university elite, who often have upper-class origins. Having a liberal arts degree doesn’t mean anything in the communities that we must serve, and oftentimes makes comrades stick out and get offended easily. Comrades from such backgrounds must be worked out of their narrow thinking and commit class suicide. Otherwise they will be detrimental to the work that must take place among the masses, and their mistaken ideas and habits pose a serious threat regardless of their good intentions. Intentions are always secondary to the consequence of our actions.

We have found that identity-reductionist politics and other grave errors that stem from them have no place in our class and are not found among the masses themselves—identity-reductionist politics are a university and activist phenomenon often force-fed by activists to the workers. In short, they take politics out of command and ignore the class conditions that affect specific groups and give rise to these identities. They fail to serve those they were designed to serve and place identity as the principal actor. Regardless of how popular identity-reductionist politics are among neo-left elitists and activist circles, they do not offer any real analysis of conditions that is not already provided by Marxism. They cannot gain real traction among the masses and fall terribly short of any revolutionary goal; they are divisive and serve the class enemy in the long term. Identity-reductionist politics emerged as a contending force due in part to the shortcomings of the Marxist left, who failed to utilize Marxism correctly; we mustn’t repeat their errors. We must avoid the chauvinist and mechanical error called class reductionism as vigorously as we avoid identity-reductionist politics.

The interests of small sections of the class must not be placed above those of the working class as a whole. Identity-reductionist politics can only place the short-term interests of a small sub-section of workers above their long-term interest as a part of the whole class. If this kind of thinking is not defeated there will be no revolutionary masses and no revolution; we will accomplish only favoritism, which can support only revisionism and not the revolution.

Since identity-reductionist politics are so common among new and inexperienced communists, they must be trained out of it—and the people are very good at this. We must have a certain level of patience in explaining why this thinking is incorrect and dangerous and never be tempted to just write off those currently holding views we see as identity-reductionist politics. We should not be dismissive. We should first seek to determine the kernel of truth within a set of politics that is ultimately and overall incorrect and start there—helping our comrades understand how identity-reductionist politics play out in the long term because when they are used to formulate a line it will inevitably be incorrect. This is how we will disprove and defeat identity-reductionist politics: through patient correction, not intolerant dismissal. If comrades refuse to ever become proletarianized, then unfortunately they are not fit to become servants of the people and should just return to their privileged intellectual status until the revolution strips them of their privileges.

6. Sending the students to the “countryside”

When working with students and other volunteers from alien class backgrounds they must be helped and sculpted under working-class leadership. They must be sent down to the countryside. In our conditions we do not literally mean the countryside, but we mean areas of struggle where these comrades can become culturally working-class: neighborhoods and jobs where their soft academic thinking will not allow them to survive, where they will be forced to begin thinking like workers. They should be given hard and physically demanding tasks when possible to break them of their habits of managing others. They should be forced to become one with the people in a process of liberating them from the toxic influence of their class spoils.

The most detrimental manifestation of liberalism is its sharp self-interested individualism. This manifests in many different ways that have been discussed in other works. We will mention a few things to look out for: (1) a laziness in work but a boastful tendency to claim easy victories; (2) the tendency to only stand with the collective in matters of accomplishment but distance themselves in matters of defeat and failure; (3) a fear of danger or bold actions and/or a tendency to worry about what their class might think. This often manifests in a fear to be one with the people and a petty desire to stand out among the people or be seen as a “unique case.”

The three preceding points are good errors to look for when distributing tasks. Understanding the transformative nature of work, we can help these comrades rectify through a physical process. We should encourage them to move out of their safe areas and live among those they serve and to break with their former lifestyles and customs.

This is part of serving the masses of people; it avoids the misleadership offered by petty-bourgeois comrades, saving the people from potential abuses. It creates space for the educated to share the best of what they know with the people in the right way. Lenin was correct that revolutionary intellectuals must bring their knowledge to the people. In order to do this they must learn from the people and integrate into the proverbial countryside. This is of great help to both the masses and those suffering from the intellectualism that keeps them aloof and of no use to the people; intellectuals can become revolutionary intellectuals in service to the people.

At no point in time should STPs fall into the hands of such individuals as have not been corrected and changed. Although class background is not an insurmountable obstacle, we must take measures to not be overrun by so many liberals that they can no longer be checked, balanced, and corrected.

7. Bio-political dual power

STPs do not and must not exist solely to provide material aid to ease the inequality of the capitalist system, though this is one function of the programs. Through such material aid, STP must seek to empower the community against the system. Through STP programs tailored specifically toward the interests of the masses it is possible to wean the people off of relying on the government and capitalist-controlled organizations such as NGOs, who can never at any point genuinely serve their interests. The contradictions between the masses and the ruling class (in this case also their administrators: social workers, reactionary churches, and NGOs) remain antagonistic. Charity is used as a buffer to prevent civil unrest and soften the class contradictions. What sets STP apart from these administrators of poverty is precisely our revolutionary politics, which at all times must be kept in command. It is this kind of militancy that can derive mass participation. It starts with having community control over a specific trench of combat and spreads from there to the point where the community relies more on itself via the revolutionary mass organizations than it does on the state or any of its representatives. This is the path for making the masses into revolutionary masses, which is the only correct path to building the revolutionary party.

We must examine whatever contradictions exist within a given area of struggle. There is the contradiction between the disdain for police and the people’s need for protection. Poverty has and always does create crime. The line on the lumpenproletariat held and implemented by past revolutionary organizations in the US failed to listen to the masses of workers in many sites of struggle. This failure to learn from the people had disastrous effect. On one hand the masses already know the police are not their friends, while on the other hand they still feel the need to call on them in a crisis. This legitimizes the pigs in the community and the pigs benefit from this contradiction in terms of soft warfare on the community, mobilizing their secondary aspect—ideology. STP should be mindful of these contradictions and seek to sharpen the contradictions between the pigs and the people. In such sites the revolutionary mass organization could seek to form community conflict-mitigation units who could be called out for domestic issues in place of the police. Many left organizations are fine with encouraging the people to never call the police but fail miserably when it comes to solving the second contradiction by providing alternatives. It is possible and in fact preferable to solve through mass participation. Crime among the people will drop and the masses will join in the defense of their communities from both the pigs and their counterparts, the lumpenproletariat. This is laid out as an example of achieving community dual power in a given site.

Another contradiction that must be examined is the contradiction between city and “countryside,” which manifests differently in imperialist countries. Cities are composed of many different neighborhoods: there are the affluent areas of a city where people enjoy material comfort and wealth juxtaposed with both pockets of want and whole areas of poverty. We can call this contradiction the contradiction between the city and the hood. STP programs should always operate in areas where this contradiction is sharpest, never falling into habits of campus organizing that neglect the issue of being among the people. Poverty, contrary to popular thinking, does not always indicate the best site of struggle. The best site must be determined through careful class analysis and directly talking to the people. It will not do to just rely on statistics or the research done by NGOs, academics, or city planners. The bourgeois census may be referenced but it cannot be the final word. Some areas might have lower income in general statistically but still have a relatively stable population with a very low or even backward level of class consciousness. Simply put, the analysis provided by the ruling class will not and cannot replace the analysis made by Marxists on the ground, and corners cannot be cut on this matter.

8. On political education and STP programs

In order to keep politics in command and avoid the danger of NGOization, all STPs without exception should also be carrying out the task of political education. Without the component of political education, all STP programs, no matter how good, are nothing but red philanthropy: NGOs that are painted in communist imagery but fail to provide revolutionary politics to the people. Education by STP should be radically different than what is carried out by NGOs and formal schooling. It should be structured based on the needs of the people and their ways of learning, so there is no readymade solution to this contradiction and it is up to the local STP to solve on their own.

Political education must be carried out on two fronts: First, on the organizational level, all STP volunteers must be trained and educated on the mass line method of leadership; they should be provided with higher levels of Marxist theory. Second, on the mass level, it is important to not go in spouting what the people already know from experience but to teach only what strikes a chord with them. The people will only take political education if it appeals to them; otherwise they will feel bored and subjected to this boredom by the organization.

For political education to work correctly comrades must understand the dialectical relationship between agitation-propaganda and the mass line and never substitute one for the other. In other words the mass line is not just agitation-propaganda, nor is agitation-propaganda just the mass line; they overlap and are complementary. They also come into contradiction when pushing matters of political education. To properly handle this contradiction comrades should make learning the mass line and having faith in the masses their top priority.

9. Common misconceptions about STP

While we are very glad to have played such a part in the formation of the STPs that have popped up over the past year, we feel that we have failed our comrades in providing the proper guidance, and due to our error we have seen several misconceptions manifest that could potentially create difficulties, if not destroy the effort. It is our aim here to address some of these misconceptions.

We have already talked about how STP should remain a revolutionary mass organization and not be subject to party-like discipline or seek too much ideological consolidation among its membership. It is sufficient to determine a few points of unity for the organization and to allow those points to develop into principles of conduct. This way members can be protected and the organization cannot become a useful tool to the enemy.

In our work we have encountered a great level of nostalgia among young radicals. While we too are inspired by the work of those who came before us, we must denounce nostalgia as a dangerous manifestation of bourgeois ideology. Nostalgia has a romanticizing effect on history and distorts Marxism by stripping it of its critical eye. We see this most commonly when it comes to national liberation and communist organizations of the past, such as the Black Panther Party (BPP). The BPP was inspired by the teachings of Mao to launch STP programs of their own and of course we engage in similar work in their spirit. This does not mean that we seek to reproduce the work of the BPP or to copy them in any way. The BPP ultimately failed in their work, and it is that failure that we must critically examine. Comrades most often seek to study what it is the Panthers did then try and do the same thing. This is wrong for two big reasons: First, the Panthers opened the door for the NGO-industrial complex, and many of their cadres got careers in the process and the people didn’t get shit. Second, the Panthers existed in a time before the NGO-industrial complex had turned into the beast that it is today, so the programs were cutting-edge. We find that comrades who hold nostalgia for the BPP often idealistically seek to mechanically apply that experience. This is an anti-Marxist position, though, and we should first understand the world we are living in today, which is actually quite different from the one the Panthers organized within. Learn what you can from the past experiences of revolutionaries but do not clone their efforts or be ahistorical in your application of study.

The most common misconception about STP is that we are a charity. In spite of our insistence that we are not many still do not understand what it means to practice solidarity instead of charity. This results in the profit motive, or of focusing only on the production of the programs—focusing on the goods we distribute or the administrative aspects of the program while neglecting the political implications of the work. This error is diplomatic and rightist, and will come about no matter what; if the error is not confronted, the whole organization will become devoid of what makes it relevant. Solidarity above all else means a willingness to struggle alongside the people; it means being entrenched and sharing the same fate. To have a firm commitment to the long-term needs and interests of the masses means we must not hesitate or fear bold actions. We must especially not fall into lackluster mechanical approaches to our work, just doing what we are supposed to on time without question. We must be partisans in class struggle, not just rank-and-file NGO employees. Work must be carried out with enthusiasm and an honest desire to learn everything we can from the people. We must not hide our politics but at the same time we are not there to soapbox, shame, or blast the people with “answers.”

Serve the People is a specific effort put forward by Maoist revolutionaries with the explicit intention of getting the most participation possible in the organization. We insist that guidelines and principles be developed and accepted by all STPs to prevent the weakening of the movement. This means that we should all communicate with each other and offer support everywhere possible—solidarity between us is a must. We encourage anyone seeking to start an STP to reach out to STP-A or STP-LA and establish relationships with us, as these two organizations are the ones who have the most practice. If this is impossible or undesirable then start something else, choose a different name, or—if you have already started an “STP”—change your organization’s name. We cannot stand for our name to be run through the dirt by half-hearted reactionaries or revisionists. Nor will we accept being erased from the narrative or having STPs organized behind our backs. We care a great deal about the direction of this work and will fight to continue participating in determining the direction it goes. STPs require the guidance of a Maoist cadre organization, which should also be struggling to establish positive relationships with us.

10. Principles for serving the people

Maoists must offer guidance, not restriction, to STP organizations. This principle of guidance instead of restriction extends to the revolutionary organization’s relationship to the community as well. This means our approach should always be firmly rooted in the masses and never thinking we know better. We must rely on and trust the people.

The police are never to be worked with in any capacity. The police are always the enemy and should never at any point be allowed to endorse, protect, or participate in STP work. STP and its membership should avoid talking to the police at all costs and should refuse to make organizational statements to them.

The media are not always our friends; we should avoid limelight and publicity that focuses on individuals in order to stay humbled by the masses. If we are to seek publicity let it be for our work and never as individuals. Let it be focused on the masses themselves. This means we should only give interviews to progressive or left-wing media outlets. The big media will offer us only sugarcoated bullets. They will distort our goals and views to sell papers while placing key individuals in the limelight, using individual fame to buy them up.

No boasting; we are in this for the people with their interests at heart, never for bragging rights or to feel better about ourselves. Self-interest is a disease all volunteers must be cured of. We should promote and propagate our work everywhere that is beneficial but remain modest in doing so. Lack of modesty in the form of bragging and boasting can turn STPs into their opposites.

STPs should be willing to dedicate time to investigation of social and economic conditions as well as the histories of their areas. They should not be too eager to get out and distribute food and services that they neglect this important legwork. Not every member should be out distributing food or goods; many may be needed to acquire, sort, and/or store items. We should be on the lookout for folks who only want to be on the ground distributing but fail to do the hard work out of view.

Politics should be kept in command and political education should never be neglected in STP work. This can sometimes mean that the programs must be smaller and more entrenched. We should be more concerned with the political development and advancement of the people than with the quality of our programs, but there must also be a balance between the two.

STP programs should be realistic and rooted in the actual ideas of the people, not in scriptures from above or formulated out of liberal notions of “love,” and so on. They should not seek to run programs that go beyond the realistic scope of those participating; a few good programs are worth more than many bad ones. The programs will grow and expand with new participation, which must be earned through patient efforts.

STPs should always promote ideological struggle within them and never seek to alienate or bar those with contradictory ideas, unless those ideas are outright reactionary. It is far better to include and struggle than it is to seek constant and immediate purity through exclusion. This method should be used to combat revisionist approaches and mentalities that see serving the people only as a platform to recruit into other organizations. This method of struggle is a tool for defense, consolidation, and advance.

STP membership should seek to reflect the site of struggle, culturally, aesthetically, and in content. STP should be diverse and multinational, not limiting itself to the needs or ideas of a sub-section of the class, thus avoiding both neglecting the interests of the class as a whole and favoritism.

— Red Guards Austin, 2016

A PDF version of this document is available for download here.

May Day 2016: Report from Austin, TX

 

Last year’s May Day march (2015) was an incredible improvement over the lack luster demonstrations that Austin had become accustomed to. This year, organizers of that event came together once more while inviting new organizations to take part in the planning of this year’s celebratory resistance. The demonstration last year was riding a wave of a movement on the country-wide level in direct support of the rebellion in Baltimore that was in response to the murder of Freddy Gray. This year the movement referred to sometimes as “Black Lives Matter” has all but ceased to exist in Austin, in spite of the murder of 17-year-old David Joseph. The energy around Joseph’s murder was extinguished by professional liberal organizers who feel it more important to talk to the police than to hear from the people, which effectively put a pressure valve on the local BLM movement. This effects all other organizing and has an overall demoralizing effect on the people. When news of David Joseph’s death surfaced, upwards of 200 hundred had attended an emergency planning meeting but less than half actually attended the following demonstration where organizers sat with chief pig Acevedo and had their supporters literally silence dissent. The reactionary king-pig Mayor Adler applauded the demo. Suffice it to say that if the head reactionary representatives of the Bourgeoisie support your “protest” then you are doing things very wrong.

This year May Day had to fill its role as an expression of working class anger and by doing so; break with the mold of watered down platitudes that substitute anger for capitulation. There was no movement that could increase participation but the Austin May Day Brigade that was formed responding to the call issued by Red Guards Austin was still able to fulfill the task of drawing a crowd of over 100 friends and comrades. We consider this a great success and have since our inception argued against the postmodernist reliance on movements. Such postmodern conceptions imply that if we get enough people onto the streets we will magically overthrow capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and white supremacy without firing a single shot. These notions are not only delusional they are suicidal- due to their refusal to acknowledge the need for revolution and a revolutionary vanguard communist party that must guide it.

We live in the age of Imperialism where the primary contradiction is between the Imperialist nations and the nations oppressed by imperialism. Imperialism is not simply a policy or a greedy orientation- it is the natural development of capitalism; all capitalism in time will turn into imperialism which is its highest and final stage. This is characterized by the wealth of the world being dived up among a few imperialist nations- the USA led camp of western imperialism being the greatest threat to the world, followed by Russia and China who contend for ever bigger pieces of the pie. These nations use their money to control other nations and exploit the workers of the world while stealing their resources. This results in almost constant war. The imperialist nations, in this case the USA, create a certain type of thinking in society that results in chauvinism or vulgar patriotism. This imperialist thinking affects communities within the USA prison house of oppressed nations.

Black and brown communities face a specific type of oppression; while on one hand they share common long term interests with members of their class who are white which creates the need for common struggles for socialism, on the other hand they share common ground with the countries directly oppressed by USA imperialism. These oppressed nations must fight both as workers exploited by the USA at home as well as being oppressed nations themselves that share the struggle against imperialism abroad. Capitalism seeks to dominate these communities in a similar way, it uses the rationale of imperialism to wield its money and uproot whole neighborhoods, erase culture, steal homes, land and resources. As capital marches into the black and brown communities of Austin’s east side it is the people who pay the ultimate price.

In Austin this is seen most apparently in the former Rainey Street neighborhood. Rainey Street was once a Chicanx working class community which was eradicated by city planners. The houses which generations of oppressed nations people grew up and lived in have not been demolished, they have been transformed into “quaint bars and cafes” for white and wealthy west siders and out-of-towners. Urban removal has added salt to the wounds of the people by letting their houses stand as playgrounds for the rich who pay 10+ dollars for a drink. May Day 2016 consciously sought to target such places to confront the vile results of gentrification directly. There were chants that included “take the heads off the rich” and “we want our hoods to be healthy, not just for the white and wealthy” and others that sharpened class hatred into a weapon by articulating the necessary course of action- people’s war.

It was on Rainey Street that tensions and class contradictions became the most sharp. One intoxicated person who was chanting “I’m rich! fuck you!” became particularly aggressive with the marchers and just as he was beginning to show signs of making a physical attack he was confronted with a bottle to the face. Unfortunately the bottle was made of plastic and filled with only water and no serious harm came to him. The local pigs intervened by arresting the tech bro to prevent the demonstrators from exacting on the spot judgment and carrying out punishment of our own, which would be far more effective than a night in the drunk tank. No comrades were arrested and the march continued to its conclusion.

The march for this year as well as last year started at Palm park, which historically served the community of the east side and stands as one of the last intact places west of IH35, part of these demonstrations is based in the need to reclaim our sites even temporarily. Other stops on the march included the former site of El Centro Chicano/the Juarez Lincoln center which provided services for the community and was demolished against a backdrop of resistance to make way for an IHOP, as well as the former site of Jumpolin, a local piñata shop owned by a family which was torn down to build the most vulgar of places… a cat café.

As usual the march refused to obtain permits or publish our routes. We again frustrated the efforts of the pigs to provide escorts. The pigs again resorted to low intensity warfare tactics of trying to present themselves as “good cops”. This attempt failed to win any support or sympathy from those celebrating International Workers Day who only greeted them with chants of “police lives don’t matter!” and “oink oink, bang bang”.

One of the most apparent improvements over last year was the fact that at least 95% of those in attendance wore masks, we managed to keep the media out and limit the number of photographs taken (all of which are compiled by the police and used to prosecute comrades and friends who express themselves in ways not palatable to the capitalist enemy). We highly encourage masks regardless of if one intends to follow the laws or not due largely to the fact that the pigs and the pig system hate radical organizers, and reactionaries are prone to trying to get workers fired if they are found out as communists etc. With only half the numbers in attendance as the year prior, May Day in Austin was a success in regards to both turn out and energy of the crowd. We witnessed another militant demonstration that directly confronted the rich, the state and their agents. Another year where workers came together to express rage and solidarity be they anarchists, communists or just folks with no tendency at all, the people stood together. The march included workers and organizers seeking better wages, workers and organizers supporting state wide prison labor strikes, representatives of militant trans liberation struggles, community organizations that offer free food clothing and revolutionary politics to the community, anti- policing activists, and Palestinian solidarity activists. This year we called upon workers to turn Austin upside down, next year let us call four times as many so that we can smash it to bits! Let the rich and their pigs live in fear of May 1st.

Special thanks to:

Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism, Austin Anarchist Black Cross, Palestinian Solidarity Committee, Serve The People Austin, the Austin branch of Socialist Alternative, and especially Defend Our Hoodz, as well as every other friend and comrade who attended.

Present in struggle,
Red Guards Austin

The video at the top of this post captures the event without compromising anyone’s identity. It was filmed and edited by a friend and comrade of RGA and is being released with our approval. It includes things discussed in this report: the rich man on Rainey Street as well as a brief talk given by a Red Guard outside of the former Lincoln Juarez Center.

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Now that Sanders has lost,

now-that-sanders

Bernie Sanders has emboldened millions to challenge the wealth and power of what he calls the 1% or “the billionaire class.” For significant segments of the U.S. working class, his campaign is the first mainstream movement to give legitimacy and vocabulary to very deep, long-held frustrations about how the world works.

And now, Bernie Sanders has lost the Democratic primary.

And so this message is for everyone who has been emboldened to work against the power of the wealthy who is now asking, “Now that Sanders has lost, what is the way forward?”

* * *

As you step back and try to answer that question, there is just one fact that is crucial to grasp. It is not a controversial fact. Anyone who was rooting for Sanders noticed it:

The media denied Bernie Sanders a platform and distorted his message.

You know why they did it, too. You know why they helped Clinton take the nomination while doing their best to destroy Sanders and the movement around him.

They did it because he was going to hurt their profits, and she was not.

That is the fact that you must grasp hold of and not let go of. Holding on to that fact will lead you to the truth.

Because if you acknowledge that they did it to Sanders—even though they had to show their hand and be very obvious about doing it—then you must acknowledge that they are doing it all the time, about everything. The media relentlessly covers all issues in a way that protects the ability of the super-rich (who own and run the media) to make a profit.

It’s not just the news media, though—and you already know this, too.

In the countrywide discussion about Confederate history that followed the massacre of nine people in a Charleston, SC, church last year, it became obvious that many millions of people are under severe illusions about the real history of the U.S. civil war and slavery. Why? Because the textbooks they were taught from in the public education system contained the heaviest distortions of the truth imaginable. The textbooks claimed that slavery was not a major cause of the U.S. civil war.[1]

You know it happens in other subjects, too. You probably know that virtually all Intro to Macroeconomics textbooks are written to glorify unregulated markets, even though virtually all mainstream economists will be the first to tell you that fully unregulated markets would cause crisis almost immediately.

You know why this happens, too. Textbooks are published by private corporations. What appears in textbooks is ultimately not based on what best reflects the truth, but according to profitability.

So grasp hold of that, and never let go: the message we hear in all major news, and which we grow up learning even in our public education system, is distorted in order to protect the profits of the super-rich—and the bigger the threat to profits, the more the truth is distorted.

* * *

To carry this struggle against the power of the wealthy forward, Sanders supporters must consider a claim that not even Sanders himself dared to make:

The root of the problem is the continued existence of capitalism itself.

And no, not just “casino capitalism,” as Sanders sometimes put it—which implies that there has ever been a capitalism without absurd speculation and wasteful spending. No, not just “crony” capitalism—which implies that there was ever a time that the super-rich did not control the government.

This is how capitalism always behaves, and it cannot behave otherwise. It cannot be reformed. Capitalism must go.

This is blasphemy. But please ask yourself who taught you that this was blasphemy.

If capitalism were to vanish, there would be no profit for the super-rich.

In fact, there wouldn’t be any super-rich at all.

These people, who control the media *and* write all the textbooks, are infinitely threatened by the claim that capitalism itself is the problem. But you trust them to tell you the truth about it?

Here is the truth:

Under capitalism, there is democracy. But it is democracy only within a small club of capitalists, to settle their disputes with a minimum of disruption to business as usual. And it is a dictatorship of that small club over the rest of society.[2]

These people have always controlled the media. They have always written the textbooks. They have not only been lying to you for your whole life, but they have been lying to your parents, and your grandparents, and everyone else on back for the entire 400 years of capitalism’s existence.

If you think this is some kind of exaggeration, please, before you commit to another year-long campaign, take some time to check your underlying assumptions. Please search through the history of capitalism and try to find even one year when this small club of capitalists didn’t rule like a king over the rest of society, distorting and blotting out any truths that threatened their ability to profit.

* * *

Also, please know that you are right about one thing: there will never be another candidate as good as Sanders.

He represents the very outer limit of the poor excuse for democracy that is the current political system. He reveals its sharp limits and contradictions:

* He had to run within the Democratic Party to have a chance at all, but it is the Democratic Party that helped to destroy him.

* In order to speak a critical word about capitalism, he had to be careful to not speak bad about it as a whole.

* In order to criticize U.S. foreign policy even slightly, he had to refuse to mention the fact that the United States uses its military to maintain a super-modern empire over the rest of the planet, sucking the blood of the Third World through NATO, the World Bank, and the IMF.

* And finally, in order to begin to talk about spreading the wealth from the super-rich downward, he had to minimize mention of the working class (who produce all wealth). And he had to deny any intention to spread the wealth from the First World back to the Third World that it was largely stolen from. And he had to deny any intention to give reparations to the black population for the wealth that the white population stole from them and still holds to this day.

Sanders consistently waved his hand in the direction of a better world. And yet when it came time to point with his fingertip to the exact nature of the problem, he misled his supporters.

This criticism is not beating a dead horse. To the total contrary—to understand how to move forward, we have to connect two seemingly disconnected pieces of the puzzle that was the Sanders campaign.

On one hand, you have the seemingly unbreakable power of the wealthy, and all the concessions that were made to appease this power. In the face of this power, Sanders’ diehard activists claimed that they had to be “realistic”—they had to not demand too much. They limited themselves to hoping to slightly enlarge the predominantly white U.S. middle-income demographic (the so-called “middle class”).

On the other hand, you have the enormous number of people who were ultimately abandoned by Sanders’s campaign, like all the black people in the United States today who feel they have every right to demand full reparations for slavery. Like the Venezuelan, Syrian, Palestinian, and Yemeni working people whom Sanders supports U.S. imperialism toward. Like the 7 billion other people on this planet who would not receive the promised free health care or free college.

In fact, the one is the answer to the riddle of the other. To win, we must flip the script entirely.

To break the power of the U.S. capitalists—who grow strong by sucking the blood of a whole planet—we need a movement of and for the whole planet.

Sanders was right that we need people power. But he would not—and, really, could not—carry it far enough.

Your allies are the billions of other human beings on this planet. These are the people who will help you take down the super-rich who rule the United States. But you must not seek anything for yourself that you do not also seek for them. You must not disconnect the prosperity of Denmark and Sweden from the hellish civil war of Syria—because Sweden’s and Denmark’s economies depend on buying from and selling to the countries who have set the Middle East on fire. You must seek a way to strike at the oppressor you both share, in a way that strengthens you both. Instead of simply leveling the wealth among the citizens of the United States, you must seek an end to concentrated wealth across the whole planet.

* * *

There is a reason so many people don’t vote in the United States, and so many so-called middle-class people do.

One major historic function of the so-called middle class is to help prop up our fake democracy, to help make it seem meaningful, to give the politicians enough supporters to be able to proclaim they represent the will of the people. But the working poor know that no matter who is in office and no matter which laws are passed, police and security guards and vigilantes will keep stalking, harassing, or murdering them; and their bosses will keep underpaying them and firing them without notice; and gentrification (more properly called urban removal) will keep ripping their homes and their entire communities out from under them.

The working poor find it hard to get abortions no matter what the laws are. The working poor see far less benefit to gay marriage, because they earn too little to care about tax breaks, and receive so little medical care that hospital visitation rights matter far less often. The working poor find it hard to care about free college tuition, because what is not free is the additional cost of travel, rent, books, and food—which working poor parents cannot pay for their children, nor is it easy for them to forgo the extra income their child could bring in by staying at home and adding their wages to the family’s. The poorest of the poor even find it hard to care about higher minimum wages—the lowest and deepest segments of the population face the highest unemployment. What good is it if all the jobs are better-paying, if most of the people you know still can’t get steady jobs, or can still only find under-the-table employment, because the system has left them uneducated, or marginalized by the color of their skin or their gender, or made them into felons, or left them undocumented?

This is not to say these gains are fully inconsequential, but only to point out how vastly more significant they are to the so-called middle class.

Throughout his campaign, Sanders would be the first to tell you that he could not begin to make even slight legislative changes without a mass movement behind him.

And yet, the electoral system is by its nature much like a TV show—simply too distant, emotionally and intellectually, for the broad masses of people to center their lives around. The Sanders movement offered, at core, only two types of activity: voting, and trying to convince others to vote. At its core, even the most radical electoral movement is reduplicating **the precise form of passivity and disengagement it is simultaneously working against**.

And for the reasons described above, the pool of potential recruits to such a campaign has sharp limits. It was never going to pull in the very people who are exploited most but who have the least voice—they know voting is a sham.

* * *

How to tie all these pieces together? What sort of movement can engage the most oppressed and exploited, not just in the United States but everywhere? What sort of movement can pull people in where an electoral campaign will never be able to?

We have seen a different sort of mass movement, though not in a while. In the 60s and the 70s, two truly mass movements shook the United States: the black power movement, whose vanguard was the Black Panther Party (BPP), and the New Communist Movement, which had significant overlap with an anti-imperialist movement, specifically against the Vietnam War.

These movements were profoundly different from the elections-centered Sanders movement. Being a part of the BPP or the New Communist Movement meant no limits at all on the type of political actions possible: people involved were free to try anything and everything that seemed like it might work. It offered to those who got involved a glimpse of a society in which democracy is really, really real—democracy that is rooted in people’s everyday lives, and that gives them a way to communicate the *full complexity* of their desires and worldviews and *actually be heard*. This is the stuff mass movements are made of. *This* is what it looks like when the masses move and change society.

It is only *this* sort of organizing—and only a society based on *this* sort of democracy, and not the puppet show now in place—that can solve the monstrous problems that we all see, of white supremacy, of cis and male supremacy, of endless war for resources, of the starvation of 7 million people each year and the poverty of billions, of a swiftly collapsing environment.

* * *

If you believe it—if you are willing to draw these hard-won lessons from the ashes of the Sanders campaign—then this is the way forward:

.

1. Please study the system we are up against—please study capitalism-imperialism. That is the root of the problem, not simply wealth inequality, which is only a symptom. Read the first five chapters of “Zombie Capitalism.”[3] Without an understanding of how capitalism-imperialism works, all attempts to solve these problems will be in vain.

.

2. Learn the history of the movement to solve the problem that is capitalism-imperialism:

(a) If you are not convinced of the necessity of revolution, please read a book like “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II” or “Agents of Repression” to find out what we are up against.[4] The powers that be have never, *never* failed to use massive violence against any movement, pacifist OR armed, that threatened their profits. Never. If we want to win, we have no choice but to use a strategy that has the power to resist this violence—we have no choice but to be armed and disciplined. An armed movement that intends to change the system from top to bottom is called a revolution.

(b) Electoral campaigns have only ever led the masses deeper into the belly of the beast: toward an illusory peace—really just a war we do not recognize and therefore cannot fight back in. The oppressor’s system was never ours and can never *be* ours.

Once we have drawn the conclusion that electoral campaigns are primarily intended to seduce and mislead, we cannot take a neutral position. We must call for a boycott on voting, not just for ourselves but for everyone. Every vote cast helps create the impression that the public still supports the system, so we say that the only way to cast a ballot for revolution is to not vote at all.

We must mentally break with their system altogether, or else we cannot effectively break with it materially. To believe we can straddle the line of endorsing a whatever-goes attitude toward voting while also advocating for revolution is to mislead the masses and ourselves.

(c) If you are down with revolution to end capitalism but are skeptical that building a worker’s state, like the USSR from 1921 to the 1950s, or the People’s Republic of China from 1953 to 1978, is the way forward, please read more about how far they made it in building new and decent societies. Please find out how successful they were in building from almost nothing societies without hunger or homelessness, where everyone had their basic needs met.[5]

Not only is another world possible, but it has already leapt into existence for decades at a time in the twentieth century. Please remember the way the media have distorted and denied the truths even of someone like Sanders—and then ask yourself how much further you think they would go to bury the truth about people such as Mao and the Chinese Communist Party, who aimed to totally end their reign on this earth.

(d) And please read over the “Debunking Anti-Communism Master Post.”[6] No one is arguing that some major mistakes weren’t made by these countries; instead, understand that (a) you have not yet begun to hear the full truth about what happened in these countries and (b) the mistakes that really were made have been learned from, and will be avoided in the future.

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3. If you want to know how we can build a new worker’s state, please study Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). A good place to start would be the “MLM Basic Course.” Then, continue with the “MLM Study Guide.”[7]

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4. (a) If you want to know whether MLM can really work in our day and age, please study the very successful Communist Party of India (Maoist)—you can watch the beautiful and inspirational film about them called “Red Ant Dream”[8]—and Communist Party of the Philippines.

(b) If you are skeptical of whether trying this kind of work in the United States can really accomplish anything, please read the short essay “How We Can Actually Bring Socialism to the United States.”[9]

(c) If you are wondering who is applying MLM in the United States successfully, please look at Red Guards – Los Angeles and Red Guards – Austin. What these two groups are doing could (and should) be duplicated in most cities in the United States.[10]

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We can do it, and we will! There is a place for everyone in the struggle. If you would like to play a role and don’t know how you could help, please get in touch!

POLITICAL EDUCATION SHOULD BE A SOCIAL ACTIVITY! Please find people to read these things with you. If you want to discuss any of these things, please reach out to the communities of communists on the internet, such as the MLM Communism 101 group on Facebook, or /r/communism101 and /r/communism on reddit.[11]

Build up the party! Build up the Red Guards!

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REFERENCES

1. “Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/07/01/why-do-people-believe-myths-about-the-confederacy-because-our-textbooks-and-monuments-are-wrong/

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2. “Who Rules America?” http://bit.ly/_who_rules_america

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3. “Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx” http://bit.ly/zombie_capitalism

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4. “Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II” http://anticapitalismfaq.com/kh/

“Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars against the Black Panther Party & the American Indian Movement” http://bookzz.org/md5/c3c439b9493f13825e1d9b9aad5227b7 (click “Download PDF”)

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5. “Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village” http://anticapitalismfaq.com/misc/Hinton_-_Fanshen.pdf

“Capitalist and Maoist Economic Development” http://anticapitalismfaq.com/misc/Gurley_-_Capitalist_and_Maoist_Economic_Development.html

“Evaluating the Cultural Revolution in China and Its Legacy for the Future” http://www.mlmrsg.com/attachments/article/72/CRpaper-Final.pdf

“Do Publicly Owned, Planned Economies Work?” https://gowans.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/do-publicly-owned-planned-economies-work/

Note: It should be noted that this resource (“Do Publicly Owned…”), like many works linked in resource 6 immediately below, does not agree with the MLM position on which countries were genuinely socialist and at what times—but nevertheless, they are very valuable resources in helping debunk many common myths about these countries.

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6. “Debunking Anti-Communism Master Post” https://www.reddit.com/r/communism/wiki/debunk

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7. “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Basic Course” http://anticapitalismfaq.com/misc/MLM_Basic_Course/

“Marxism-Leninism-Maoism Study Guide” http://www.massline.org/MLM_Study/MLMstudy.htm

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8. “Red Ant Dream” https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDiACgi7voYuTywWjZ2dHoxXwD697BhYV

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9. “How We Can Actually Bring Socialism to the United States” https://jiminykrix.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/1431/

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10. Red Guards – Los Angeles: https://www.facebook.com/RedGuardsLA/

Red Guards – Austin: https://www.facebook.com/redguardsaustin

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11. Communism 101 (MLM): https://www.facebook.com/groups/communism.mlm/

/r/communism101: http://reddit.com/r/communism101

/r/communism: http://reddit.com/r/communism